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Aileen attended NCAD from 1973 to 1978. Her early work can be seen as a reaction to two major influences in sculpture at the time. The first was the dominance of figurative sculpture in NCAD and the Academy and, outside of these, the hard-edge realist sculptures often in brightly painted steel. 


When she finished her degree in NCAD, she worked for some time with John Behan in the Dublin Art Foundry. This led to an interest in bronze which led her to do a Master’s in Fine Art in Southern Illinois University at Carbondale which had the second largest bronze foundries in the States.  


On her return from America in 1982, Aileen was appointed as a lecture in NCAD (National College of Art and Design). She stayed there until 1992 when she left to join the management team that were working to develop Temple Bar in Dublin as a cultural quarter. In 1994, she became the Founding Director and CEO of Arthouse, a new multimedia centre for the arts which pioneered digital art. Three years later, she left to become Head of the School of Art, Design & Media in IADT (Institute of Art, Design and Technology). 


Her other contributions to the field included being President of Irish Exhibition of Living Art, 1983-97; championing the establishment of National Film School at IADT; and pioneering FÍS, the national film-making project for primary schools. She chaired numerous symposia on art practice in Ireland, coordinated conferences and directed exhibitions. She was the executive producer of two television series on art and artists, The Art Files and Profiles. 

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