Installation image of Ain't No Mountain High Enough-Milestones for Two Centuries of Women Climbers, 2012, Mailbox 141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, ceramic and watercolour painting, h. 45 w. 500 cm


Robyn Phelan makes sculptural ceramics in deep correspondence with place and self. Working across a range of different sites, she uses clay to connect and interpret her experience of time spent inhabiting a site. Works are imbued with the touch of the maker and the haptic qualities each site inspires though the lifting of textures and inclusion of natural, found material.

Currently, Robyn is a Ph.D candidate in the School of Art, RMIT University, where she teaches in the ceramic studio. Her practice-led research questions the intersections of site, ceramics, and the body. Her professional background is in visual arts education, museums, curation, and management.  She has been writing about contemporary art, craft, and ceramics for more than two decades.


Acknowledgement of Country

I acknowledge the Woiwurrung and Taungurung People of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work and pay respect to Elders of these communities - past and present - and extend respect to all First Nations people.

Aboriginal Australians are the oldest living culture in human history and have one of the longest creative human histories on Earth.

I believe that Sovereignty was never ceded and that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land. 

Proudly, the place I make work, care for my family, friends, and community has a rich ongoing black history.

Curriculum Vitae


2020- current

PhD Candidate, School of Art, RMIT University


Master of Research Candidate, (Commonwealth Supported Place), RMIT University

2004– 2010

Bachelor of Fine Art (Ceramics), RMIT University


Postgraduate Diploma of Fine Art (Art Curatorship and Museum Management), University of Melbourne


Bachelor of Education (Arts and Crafts), Melbourne College of Advanced Education (MCAE)

Awards & Grants

2019Higher Degree by Research Travel Grant (HDRTG), RMIT University
2011Australia Council ArtStart Grant
2011Scholarship Recipient, RMIT Honours Endowment Travelling Scholarship
2011RMIT University Ceramics Honours Award for Excellence
2010RMIT Ceramics Honours Student Award
2009Ge & Ge Sponsors Award, Ceramics Victoria 40th Anniversary Exhibition
2007Mary and Lou Senini Student Art Award, McClelland Art Gallery
2007Clayworks Ceramics Award for Excellence, RMIT
2007George Alexander Foundation Grant, RMIT
2006Siemens RMIT Fine Arts Scholarships



The Weight of Wairing, Rubicon ARI

The Vase & Flower Show, curated by Sassy Park, 7 Clovelly Road Gallery, Sydney


Wearing out the days, REY Space, RMIT University


To Dwell & Respond, Kyneton Stockroom


Finding Form on Landscape Road, CLAD-Centre of Learning & Design, Bendigo Pottery


Design for Wellness Deity Project by Vipoo Srvilasa, Linden Art Gallery


The Vase & Flower Show, curated by Sassy Park, 7 Clovelly Road Gallery, Sydney


Wyndham Art Prize, Shorlisted, Wyndham Art Gallery


Conversation with a Landscape, Vitrine Gallery, Craft Victoria


Ain't No Mountain High Enough-Milestones for Two Centuries of Women Climbers, Mailbox 141 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Selected Group Exhibitions


The Vase & Flower Show 2, curated by Sassy Park, 7 Clovelly Road Gallery, Sydney


Tarkine in Motion 2020: Frontlines, Bob Brown Foundation Exhibition,Long Gallery, Hobart


The Vase & Flower Show, curated by Sassy Park, 7 Clovelly Road Gallery, Sydney


Presenters Exhibition, Princes Wharf One, Hobart


Material Memories, Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Launceston

Finalist, Kyltie Pate Award, Mansfield


Finalist, Craft Award, Craft, Melbourne

Finalist, Klytie Pate Award


Wonky, Curated by Sophia Cai & Caitlin Shearer, Tinning Street Presents, Brunswick.


Storm in a Teacup, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, curated by Wendy Garden

Victorian Craft Award, Craft Victoria

Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, MC3 Art Gallery, judges by Robert Reason, Curator of European & Australian Decorative Arts, Art Gallery f South Australia


the course of objects: the fine line of inquiry at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum, an Australian Ceramics Association Biennial Exhibition


28th Gold Coast International Ceramic Art Award

Tooth and Nail: Cross Cultural Influences in Contemporary Ceramics, a RMIT, NETS (Victoria) and Chinese Museum (Melbourne) International and National Touring Exhibition


Narrative Knot, Manly Art Gallery and Museum

RMIT Student Representative, Affordable Art Fair, Exhibition Buildings


Ceramics RMIT Student Exhibition, Carbon Black

Resonate, First Site Gallery


Bottled, Pan Gallery

Siemens RMIT Fine Art Scholarship Exhibition, RMIT Gallery

Unearth, RMIT Graduate Exhibition, Skepsi on Swanston

Stirring, Skepsi on Swanston

Perspective, selected members exhibition, Craft Victoria

Ceramics Victoria 40th Anniversary Exhibition, Manningham Art Gallery

Pat Emery Award & Exhibition, Yarra Sculpture Gallery


Mary and Lou Senini Student Art Award for Ceramics, McClelland Gallery

Pat Emery Award & Members Exhibition, Paynter Gallery, Bendigo Pottery

Ceramics Faculty Exhibition, RMIT School of Art Gallery


Siemens RMIT Fine Arts Exhibition, RMIT Gallery


2017Northcote Pottery Residency
2013Travel to Berlin, Dresden, Munich, RMIT Honours Endowment Travelling Scholarship
2008Jingdezhen Pottery Workshop and Experimental Sculpture Factory, China


2017Holding Place Making Space, The Australian Ceramics Triennale, Hobart
2013Clay Push, Ceramics Conference Gulgong, NSW
2012Subversive Clay, 2012 Australian Ceramics Triennale, Adelaide
2009Australian Ceramics Triennale, Sydney
2006Verge 11th National Ceramics Conference, Brisbane



Mirrnong Minnie Bush Animals Inspired by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers with Aunty Bronwyn Razem Razem, RMIT University

Weave Down South Workshop with Maparu Weavers, CERES Environment Park


3D Collage with conservator Penny Byrne, Slow Clay Centre


Anton Reijnders, Masterclass, RMIT University



Cai, S 2016, ‘Embrace a Little Wonkiness’, Wonky Exhibition Catalogue


O'Dwyer, R 2013, Delivering the Long Look, Journal of Australian Ceramics, Issue 522, (July 2013), pp.71-74.


Ballard, B., The Narrative Knot, Ceramics Art and Perception, Issue 88, p. 28-33


Wedd, G 2011, ‘The Narrative Knot Stories in Ceramics’, Journal of Australian Ceramics, Volume 50 Issue 3, (Nov 2011) pp.

Professional Activity


Critical writing & publishing on contemporary ceramics & craft


Master of Ceremonies, Holding Space Making Place Conference, Australian Ceramics Triennale, Hobart

2018 - 2019

Lecturer in Ceramics RMIT


Lecturer in Objective-Based Design Ceramics, RMIT

2014 - ongoing

Victoria Wide Writer for the Journal of Australian Ceramics

Blog on contemporary ceramics

2012 - ongoing

Studio at Elm Place Studios, North Melbourne


Guest Editor, Journal of Australian Ceramics, Issue 550/1


Lecture 15 Days In Jingdezhen, Australian Ceramic Triennale, Sydney


Project Manager, Craft Victoria

Including creation of inaugural Scarf Festival 2003


Curator of Fold, group exhibition at Craft Victoria

2000 - 2001

Program Manager, Craft Victoria


Touring Services Project Manager, Museums Australia (Victoria)

1997 - 2000

West Space Committee Committee Member (Footscray to CBD)

1996– 1998

Assistant Registrar, National Gallery of Victoria

1988– 1994

Art and craft teacher, Kurunjang Secondary College, Victoria

Industry Membership

Bluestone Collection, inaugural member & Honorary Treasurer

Craft Victoria

Australian Ceramics Association

Victorian Institute of Teaching

an artsphere website