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Aisling Keavey

Born 1991, April 10 (Dublin)

Aisling Keavey (1991) is a photographic artist, moving-image maker, curator and writer from Dublin, Ireland. Currently based in London, she is a graduate of Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology’s MRes course in Photography (2022, 4.0GPA), in which she reflected on the representation of Irish women in Britain post the Good Friday Agreement, and also Wimbledon College of Arts’ one-of-a-kind (and no longer running) BA course in Fine Art Print and Time-Based Media (2016, 2.1). She has an intensely research-based practice, which spans photography, archival material, writing and moving image. Her work focuses on the migration of women from Ireland to the UK, using ethnographic interviews, photography and moving image to connect histories of migration with the contemporary. Recent exhibitions include Dublin Art Book Fair 2022: A Caring Matter at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Images Are All We Have at PhotoIreland Festival, July – August 2022; On the History and Practice of Photography in Ireland at PhotoIreland Festival, July – August 2022 and Photo Fringe online 2020. She has presented academic papers and posters at various national and international conferences, most recently as part of the Women’s History Association of Ireland ECR/PGR Day 2021, the Sixteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences The Opportunities of Crisis: Resilience and Change in World History, and Migrant Belongings: Digital Practices and the Everyday. She has won various awards for papers and research, including an Emerging Scholar Award and a Research and Innovation Seed Fund for Emerging Researchers from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology.

Bio & Career

Keavey’s current body of research themes are manifested through investigative image-based works that aim to inform the audience. By using photography and celluloid film, Keavey is preoccupied with the materiality of the image, the process through which the image is made, and informing and subverting the audience’s perception of a work. She is concerned with creating a permanent image from an impermanent medium. She is influenced by media culture and theory, audience perception and reactions, archives, conflict history, the emigrant as “other”, the Irish experience and personal history. Her personal research practice in concerned with narratives and representations of Irish immigrant women through film and photography. Using moving image and photography, as well as archival images and interviews, she aims to subvert how Irish women are represented through film and photography. Her current project uses ethnographic interview, as well as still photography and moving image to create a representation of individual women and explore their notion of home. 1


Appears in

  • 2022, Heartland / Hearthland, self-published artist book
  • 2016, Immigration / Emigration, handmade artist book, unique
  • 2016, Accidental Journeys, handmade artist book, edition of 2
  • 2013, A Short Way From Here, self-published photo-book, edition of 15
  • 2013, Common History, self-published photo-book, edition of 15

Awards and honours

  • 2022, (current) Part of the London Creative Network (LCN) program at Four Corners, London UK
  • 2022, Belfast Photo Festival open submission, shortlisted, Belfast NI
  • 2021, Emerging Scholar Award, Sixteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences The Opportunities of Crisis: Resilience and Change in World History, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford UK
  • 2019, Research and Innovation Seed Fund for Emerging Researchers, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dublin Ireland
  • 2016,  The Old Girl’s Club Mentorship III – Shortlisted, London UK


Solo exhibitions

  • 2014, Photographs From Berlin, Wimbledon College of Arts Library, London, UK

Group exhibitions

  • 2022, Dublin Art Book Fair 2022: A Caring Matter, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2022, PhotoIreland Festival 2022, Images Are All We Have, The Printworks, Dublin Castle, Dublin
  • 2020, Ireland is my Hearth-land, Photo Fringe, Online
  • 2020, The Claddagh, Elbow Room, Bussey Building, London UK
  • 2016, Immigration / Emigration, Show Two, Wimbledon College of Arts, London, UK
  • 2016, Accidental Journeys, Liminal States, Gallery on the Corner, Battersea, London, UK
  • 2016, Accidental Journeys, Spectacle, Wimbledon College of Arts, London, UK
  • 2014, Photographs From Berlin, Wimbledon College of Arts Library, London, UK
  • 2013, A Short Way from Here and Common History, Colaiste Dhulaigh graduate show, Gallery of Photography, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2013, A Short Way from Here, Four Degrees of Separation, The Twisted Pepper, Dublin, Ireland
  • 2012, Various portrait photographs, Homeless Gallery, D-Light Studios, Dublin, Ireland


  • Heartland / Hearthland (2022)

This project is concerned with female members of the Irish diaspora living in England and is engaged with representational imagery and personal testimony from the Irish community ensuring the collective response to histories of migration. The women were photographed and interviewed about their experience of being Irish in London, their reasoning for emigrating and their thoughts about what home means to them. Interview questions were concerned with traditional ethnographic qualitative interview techniques, using unstructured interviews and prompts. The women were also interviewed about a particular object that had some significance to them and to Ireland. The women were filmed interacting with these objects, to show the haptic engagement of the subject with the object.


  • Is Not Just Here, This Is Everywhere (2017)

This work uses a previous project, Accidental Journeys as a continuation and point of departure. This work references the previous project both in theme and process. By using post-structuralist, non-chronological narrative, meaning is found at the point of contact. The latent photographic image is used as a metaphor for repressed historical memory and also as a metaphor for the political process.


  • Accidental Journeys (2016)

Accidental Journeys traces both the historical and contemporary journey the Irish Diaspora took from Ireland to England by photographing a journey from East Croydon to Gatwick Airport using black and white analogue film then adding dates of famine ships sailing from Cobh to America in the 1840’s and 1850’s over the images. By placing the images out of chronological order, the post-structuralist narrative of the project is alluded to and also shows that meaning is constructed at the point of engagement with the image by the viewer which also helps the images reference an invisibility of place. There are no defining features of place in any of the images which aids in the defamiliarisation of the landscape. The focusing of the camera lens is used as both a mechanical function and an approach to research, which considers history as an ongoing and malleable process. The changing of chemicals in the analogue photographic wet-room process references the change brought about by immigration and changes the Irish Diaspora faced when immigrating from Ireland to England and further afield to America and Canada. The photographs connect with personal migration from Ireland to England with that of historical migration. The work considers the traumatic disruption migrants go through when forcefully uprooting themselves from their home and immigrating to an unknown place to start a new life as a result of famine in this case, which is referenced in by using slow shutter speeds to form abstract images. The action of the camera in taking an image is used as an aide memoire to assist the viewer in visualising the Irish famine ship journey and to signify the imprints of the memory of these journeys on the landscape.


External links & References

  1. “Artist Statement” Aisling Keavey