Carnegie Mellon University


Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology

Olivia Robinson

Olivia Robinson

Teaching Professor, Entertainment Technology Center

IDeATe Areas

Soft Technologies


Olivia Robinson teaches courses in IDeATe’s Soft Technologies minor, and she manages IDeATe’s Soft Technologies Studio. Olivia is a multimedia artist whose work spans performance, installation, research, and public engagement. Robinson’s diverse body of work, which ranges in scale from hand-built textile circuits to architectural-scale inflatable structures, investigates issues of justice, identity, community, and transformation.

Within her work at CMU, Olivia is invested in exploration of large-scale sustainable textile practices. She does this through her teaching, research, and support of students’ work. Olivia recently received NSF funding to support and scale-up textile recycling innovations made by her former student and CMU alumna, Sarika Bajaj. Using this collaboration as a model, Olivia is committed to supporting her students’ interests, research, and experiments that may lead to significant reductions and elimination of the harmful toxicity and waste within our current practices and relationship with textiles.

Olivia received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she majored in Fiber Art with a focus on inflatable sculpture, experimental costuming, and performance. She co-founded the performance troupe Little Big Bang which performed at the American Visionary Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Mermaid Parade, and the WPA/Corcoran Museum. She also worked in the Community Arts Partnerships office during its first four years. Robinson holds an MFA in Electronic Art from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she explored an interest in integrating electronics into sculptural objects and materials. From 2011-2017, Olivia was a founding member of Luminous Intervention, an arts and activism collective based in Baltimore.

Olivia has additionally received awards and honors from the Rubys Award, National Endowment for the Arts, Maryland State Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, Franklin Furnace Fund, Harpo Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, and National Science Foundation.