Ailbhe Greaney

Ailbhe Greaney

Ms, BA., MFA., FHEA.

  • York Street, Belfast Campus

    BT15 1ED Belfast

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Born, Galway Ireland.
Lives and works in Belfast.

Photographer | Art and Design Research Institute
Lecturer in Photography |
BA(Hons)/MFA Photography Campus + ELearning,
Belfast School of Art, Ulster University.

Ailbhe’s work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally, most recently in Belfast, Italy, The Netherlands, Liverpool, London, New York and Paris. The work ‘Street Flower’, created as part of a residency at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, directs attention to possibilities within her work-in-progress ‘The Arrangement’ (from Flower Arrangement), of which it is the first chapter. Its selection as one of 50 pieces, out of over 700 international submissions, for Photography Is Magic, places the work in an optimistic context, one where a kind of magic might be “activated in the viewer…. (within which) those transformations and awakenings of perception that art and its processes can prompt” (Charlotte Cotton). Ailbhe has spoken both nationally and internationally at conferences ranging from the Society for Photographic Education Conference ‘Family Values’ in Orlando Florida to‘Fast Forward Women in Photography’ at the Tate Modern, London, where she was selected as one of 15 speakers from over 250 international submissions.The paper ‘States of Colour: Irish and Vietnamese Women after Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet’ extends the narrative of the work ‘Street Flower’, engaging with a museum collection, Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet, and Museum garden, at Musée Albert Kahn in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris.

Originally from Galway, Ailbhe is one of the founding members of the BA(Hons) Photography & Video Degree (2007) and MFA Photography Degree (Campus 2010/ E-Learning 2015) at Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art. She is Course Director of the BA (Hons) Photography with Video Programme, having being MFA Photography Director from 2013-2017.

A BA(Hons) Communications Graduate from Dublin City University, Ailbhe also holds an MFA with Distinction from the School of Visual Arts New York, where she graduated as a Fulbright and Aaron Siskind Memorial Scholar. She is the recipient of the SVA MFA Chairman's Award 2000-2003, Arts Council Visual Arts Bursary 2006, Arts Council Travel Award 2012, Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris Residency Award 2014 and Society for Photographic Education International Conference Grant Award 2017 (with her paper ranking highest out of 247 proposals received by a 10-member peer review panel).

Ailbhe forms part of the world-leading (REF 2014) Photography discipline at UU and was submitted for REF 2022. Her practice, writing and research has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally; contextualized within institutions such as Aperture Foundation New York, CCI Paris, EVA International, Fast Forward Women In Photography, Format Festival, Golden Thread Gallery Belfast, PhotoIreland, SPE and Tate Modern. Her work is held in the collections of the School of Visual Arts New York and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. 

A Board Member for the Young at Art Festival and a BIG IDEA Mentor, Ailbhe is also External Examiner at Falmouth University and MTU’s Crawford College of Art. A fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the Ulster University Art & Design Research Institute (RIAD), Ailbhe is an incoming PhD supervisor and sits on the Ulster University Art and Design Ethics Filter Committee. She has been an expert panel reviewer for the Fulbright Commission of Ireland Student/Scholar Award since 2013. In 2016 she was appointed the inaugural Fulbright Ireland Ambassador for Ulster University.  

Prior to her appointment at UU Ailbhe worked as a Curatorial Intern under Jennifer Blessing at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, on the exhibitions: Speaking with Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection, 2004 / Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present, 2004 / Matthew Barney The Cremaster Cycle, 2003.

She has served as Editorial Assistant at Blind Spot Magazine, New York; Advanced Digital Imaging Artist with Lux Imaging, New York; Gallery Assistant + Print Manager (Voluntary), Here Is New York Exhibition, 116 Prince St, New York; Digital Output Centre Manager, School of Visual Arts, New York and Graduate Teaching Assistant, MFA Photography Dept; School of Visual Arts, New York, under the mentorship of Sarah Charlesworth, Anna Gaskell, Collier Schorr, Stephen Shore, Charles Traub and Randy West. 

Ailbhe’s research focuses on Photography, Migration and the Marginal and she is currently leading a research project entitled ‘Photography, Empathy and The Young’, in collaboration with the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUIG. As part of PhotoIreland 2022 she will convene the Think Tank: Photography: An Empathetic Gesture? Her solo exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery will run from July – September 2022 and her work will be featured as part of the CCI 20-year anniversary programme for Paris Photo 2022, alongside Martin Parr. In addition to this Ailbhe is co curating a special photography exhibition with CCI Directrice Nora Hickey Hickey M'Sichili, featuring four female Ulster University Photography graduates whose work exemplifies a challenge to the language of photography and represents a ‘young’ response to, and an unfixing of, place within an Irish context.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Master, MFA Photography, Video and Related Media, School of Visual Arts New York

Award Date: 1 Jul 2003

Bachelor, BA(Hons) Communication Studies, Dublin City University

Award Date: 1 Oct 1999

External positions

The Big Idea Mentor, The Big Idea

Jan 2022 → …

Board Member, Young At Art, Young at Art, Belfast

Jan 2022 → …

External Examiner, BA (Hons) Photography with New Media (New Programme), Crawford College of Art, Munster Technological University, Crawford College of Art

Nov 2021Nov 2025

External Examiner, BA (Hons) Visual Communication Online (New Programme), Falmouth University


Fulbright Ambassador for Ulster University, Fulbright Commission Ireland

1 Sept 20162018

Selection Panel Member: Fulbright Commission Ireland Student/Scholar Awards , Fulbright Commission Ireland

2013 → …


Dive into the research topics where Ailbhe Greaney is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles