Richard Whiteley became an apprentice in stained at the age of sixteen; he holds an undergraduate degree form The School of Art, Australian National University (Glass) and a Masters degree (MFA, Sculpture) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently the Head of the Glass Workshop and Convenor of Craft & Design Workshops at the School of Art, Australian National University.
Whiteley's research practice focuses primarily on cast glass and his works explore voids as the primary constructive agent. He says of the working method: "The works are built from the inside out; voids are ordered first and external structures are built to encapsulate these spaces. The works explore space – using glass as a substrate activated by space and light. The material qualities of glass – transparency and translucency – are elements within the work that create the dialogue between voids and solids".
Whiteley was a board member for the Visual Art Board of the Australia Council from 2009-2011 and his works are held in major museums and private collections worldwide, including the Australian National Gallery and the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY. He has received many research grants to develop creative works, perform technical research and he has recently completed research on a major glass-recycling project with a Sydney based company, Refire Glass.