Dr Faye Neilson


School of Creative Arts (Fine Art)

Career Summary


Faye Neilson is an artist and lecturer in Art History/Theory and 3D studio practice.  After completing undergraduate studies in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle, she travelled to Germany where she lived for seven years.  During this time, Faye undertook intensive language courses in German and was registered as a guest at the Universitat Gesamthochschule Kassel .  She participated in solo and group exhibitions, notably Durchgangszimmer at the Kulturbahnhof Kassel in 2000. She was also selected to take part in Bildhauer Werk Stadt, a site-specific sculpture project in Brakel in 1998. Faye lectured in Ceramics at the University of Paderborn in 2000 and was also regularly employed as a translator (German – English) during her time in Germany. 

Faye returned to Australia in 2001 to begin her PhD research, following the conferral of an Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship.  She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Newcastle in 2007.  Her PHD exegesis, Bed and Body: aspects of personal comfort, explored the metaphorical significance of beds in contemporary art practice and also served to contextualise her exhibition of artwork.  Here, notions of comfort were aligned with memory, displacement, maternity and the early experience of attachment in children.  Faye’s exhibited mixed media works drew on comfort objects in the domestic environment, revealing the bed as a multi-faceted symbol.

Faye Neilson has been teaching at the University of Newcastle since 2006. Lecturing in both Art History/Theory and 3D Studio Practice, she is particularly interested in finding ways to promote conceptual and critical thinking and to strengthen the students’ understanding of the relationship between research and practice.

Research Expertise
My research focus lies in the broad area of 3D art and its theoretical discourse, particularly in relation to contemporary art practice and installation. More specifically, I am interested in object materiality, analogy and signification with reference to the domestic environment, especially in the reworking of traditional fibres-textiles processes. My PhD Exegesis, titled Bed and Body: aspects of personal comfort, theoretically contextualized my own practice through investigating the metaphorical use of beds in contemporary art practice. A diverse range of contemporary art objects were considered in this research, highlighting the key role of analogy in relation to artefacts and their materiality. During my PhD candidature, I presented research papers at the Palimpsests humanities conference at Curtin University, Perth and at the ACUADS conference in Perth. I was also Associate Investigator in the collaborative project Digital Technology and the Human Touch, which was supported with a University of Newcastle project grant. A work resulting from this project, Glove Layout (2005), is included in the National Gallery of Australia collection. Over the past fifteen years I have participated in both solo and group exhibitions in Australia and Germany. I have also regularly participated in locally curated exhibitions, notably Surface: detail (2008) and Here and Beyond (2007) at the Newcastle Region Art Gallery and Shedding Skin at the Lake Macquarie Art Gallery (2006). For these exhibitions, I formed part of the panel for discussions and forums. I was also selected to exhibit in the project Durchgangszimmer at the Kulturbahnhof, Kassel, Germany, in 2000 and the public art project Bildhauer Werk Stadt in Brakel, Germany in 1998.

Teaching Expertise
During the past eight years I have lectured in both Studio and Art History/Theory courses at the University of Newcastle. In Art History/Theory I have taught in the broad core strands of Critical Studies, Contemporary Issues in Art and Visual Analysis and in the elective unit of 3-D Arts since 1900. I have lectured in the studio areas of Soft Sculpture, 3D Art: Form and Space, 3D Art: Process and Practice, Principal Studio and Foundations in Creative Arts. I act as a supervisor for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) program and at Postgraduate level. In teaching, I hope to promote critical thinking and to strengthen the relationship between Art Theory and Studio Practice. The best tertiary teachers, in my experience, are enthusiastic and professional, project a sound knowledge base, can deliver information with clarity and good humour, foster critical thinking, can link topics and respond to new ideas quickly, are organised (but not inflexible) and genuinely care about the progress of each student and the class as a whole.

Administrative Expertise
I am currently acting as the Convenor of the Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) program at the University of Newcastle. 


  • PhD (Fine Art), University of Newcastle
  • Graduate Diploma in Art, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts), University of Newcastle


  • 3D Art Practice
  • 3D Studio Practice
  • Art History/Theory
  • Ceramics Studio Practice
  • Fibres-Textiles Studio Practice
  • Installation
  • Object Materiality
  • Textiles
  • The Quotidian
  • Trace and memory


  • German (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Creative Arts


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (2 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Rey U, Neilson FL, 'Crafting pathos with Dani Marti', Art Monthly Australia, 255 5-7 (2012) [C3]
Co-authors Una Rey
2010 Neilson F, 'Jan Downes Illumination: Language, Landscape and Light', CERAMICS-ART AND PERCEPTION, 31-33 (2010)

Creative Work (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2006 Burgess R, Neilson FL, Shedding Skin, Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery (2006) [J1]
2004 Neilson FL, Hush, rocketart (2004) [J1]
2004 Neilson FL, 1000 small boxes, Kankaku Museum, Iwadeyama Town, Japan (2004) [J1]
2004 Neilson FL, Palimpsests Exhibition, Access Gallery, Curtin University (2004) [J1]
2004 Downes JM, Neilson FL, Woodrow RD, Hale CP, Longworth JF, Jones SJ, et al., Joint an auction preview, back to back galleries, Newcastle (2004) [J2]
Co-authors Brett Alexander
2004 Neilson FL, Footprint, John Paynter Gallery, Newcastle (2004) [J2]
Show 3 more creative works

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Total current UON EFTSL


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015 Masters Art and Biloela: A Conceptualisation of Girls Incarcerated on Cockatoo Island, 1871-1880
M Philosophy (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
2015 PhD The Passage of Time and The Shadow
PhD (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
Principal Supervisor
2015 PhD Narrative and Storytelling in Contemporary Art Practice
PhD (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle
2014 PhD How politically repressed artists are able to covertly express critical thought, in order to provide a message of hope and resistance
PhD (Fine Art), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle

Dr Faye Neilson


Fine Art
School of Creative Arts
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Fine Art

Contact Details

Email faye.neilson@newcastle.edu.au
Phone 02 49 216238


Room AT26
Building Art Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308