Robyn Phelan is an artist, writer, and educator who lives and works in Naarm, Melbourne. Her practice includes sculptural ceramics, drawing, fieldwork, and installation. Robyn responds to a range of different sites that connect with nature or invest in physical habitation. She employs an intimate, embodied touch to her sculptural objects. She creates work that questions contemporary social, political, and environmental issues from an Australian perspective. 

Robyn has created work for many group shows and more recently solo exhibitions. Robyn has been shortlisted for many curated and award exhibitions such as The Australian Ceramics Association, the Manningham Contemporary Ceramics Award, Wyndham Art Prize & the Klytie Pate Award. She has been awarded an Australia Council grant and various RMIT travel grants. 

Robyn's 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. At RMIT she teaches ceramics and professional practice in the School of Art, where she is also a Ph.D. candidate. Her practice-led research questions the intersections of site, ceramics, and the body. 


Acknowledgement of Country

I acknowledge the  Wurundjeri, Woiwurrung, Taungurung People of the Kulin Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work, who are among the oldest living cultures in human history and who have one of the longest creative human histories on Earth.
I pay respect to Elders of these communities - past and present - and extend respect to all First Nations people.
I recognise that Sovereignty was never ceded.
The place I made work, care for my family, friends, and community has a rich history and its Indigenous people have unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters, seas, and all living things. 

Curriculum Vitae


2019 - current

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



Wyndham Art Prize, Shorlisted, Wynham 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


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

The Talking Ornament, Flagstaff Gardens, Melbourne Design Week 2020


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