Aidan McGrath

Acting Executive Director

Aidan McGrath assumed post as Acting Executive Director of PLACE in January 2012.

He is a chartered architect and principal in Belfast-based Twenty Two Over Seven Architects.

Amberlea Neely


As Manager of PLACE, Amberlea is responsible for developing the public outreach programme of exhibitions and events and managing delivery of education and partnership projects such as Architecture in the Curriculum and Wordscape. Amberlea was responsible for securing PLACE as the Regional Coordinator for somewhereto, a UK-wide project aimed at 16-25 year olds. She has represented PLACE at Architecture Centre Network events in London and Rotterdam and at Association of Architecture Organisations (AAO) events in Chicago where she became one of the first participants of the AAO international exchange about architectural exhibitions.

Amberlea holds a BA Hons in Fine Art and is currently completing an MSc in Cultural Management at University of Ulster. She was the Northern Irish Delegate in the British Council’s Cultural Leadership International (CLI) Programme in 2009/10 and completed the Creative and Cultural Skills Northern Ireland Leadership Programme. She also holds a certificate in Clore Leadership in association with British Council. Amberlea recently completed an Arts Plan course in Using the Arts to Develop Aspiration, Leadership and Potential, which encourages the provision of leadership opportunities for young people working in the arts and has trained as a Spaceshaper 9-14 facilitator with CABE. Amberlea developed the PLACE Internship programme for young people.

Amberlea is a member of Engage, a forum for gallery education. She is also Co-Director of Belfast Platform for the Arts and she was key in establishing a working network between the cultural organisations near Fountain Street which fed into the programme for Culture Night Belfast 2010.

Conor McCafferty

Facilities and Media Manager

Conor deals primarily with communications, marketing and multimedia at PLACE. He also leads a team of volunteers in various roles.

Conor is a graduate in Music Technology. In 2010, he completed a certificate in volunteer management and attended the CABE Urban Design Summer School.

He is a member of several communication and marketing groups in Belfast and beyond.

Sarah Dougherty

Finance Assistant

Sarah Dougherty is PLACE Finance Assistant.

Gary Potter

Outreach Assistant

Gary is currently part of the PLACE team through the Vodafone World of Difference programme.

He is working for two months as Outreach Assistant. Gary is also working to bring unique content to the blog such as interviews and built environment discussion topics.

Gary runs the website.

Gary holds an LLB (Hons) in Law with Politics and has recently completed an MSc in Urban & Regional Planning.

Management Board

Bill Morrison is the Chairman of PLACE and an architect-planner. Bill is a former city planner for Belfast and past Chairman of the National Trust's Northern Ireland Planning Commission, a former President of the national Planning Summer School and a previous member of the Policy Council of the Town and Country Planning Association. Since 2001 Bill has moved into the private sector as a planning consultant and has worked for Strategic Planning as Chief Planning Advisor since its inception in 2003. Bill is currently a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the Irish Academy of Engineering and visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the University of Ulster.

Iain Davidson is Arts Development Manager with Down District Council and formerly Arts Development Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Ciarán Mackel, BSc, Dip. Arch, Dip. Project Management, MSc Design, RIBA MRIAI, is an architect and urban designer; and Practice Principal in ARD Ciaran Mackel Architects. Ciarán is a member of the Architectural Association of Ireland and has been involved in architectural education at the Queen's University of Belfast. From 2002-2004 Ciarán served as President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RIBA Northern Ireland) and in 2005 as Ulster representative to the RIAI.

Mark Hackett is is co-founder and director in Forum for Alternative Belfast CIC, and former partner in Hackett Hall McKnight Architects. Mark has taught at both Queen's University and University of Ulster and is is an external examiner at the University of Dundee. Mark is on the British Council’s Cultural Leadership International Programme and formerly the RSUA Council.