Mairéad McClean uses material from a diverse range of sources in her films: found footage, historical and family archives, filmed performances and televisual media, appear in many of her single screen films and installations. Her work often features people as they cope with forms of control. Whether the camera follows actual events or follows enactments by a performer, people are seen to challenge or circumvent authority or to improvise with their own actions.
McClean has received a number of awards for her work both in the UK and Ireland. Her video work No More (2013), exploring questions around the introduction of internment without trial in Northern Ireland in 1971, won the inaugural MAC International Art Prize in 2014 and was exhibited at the MAC Belfast that year. No More was acquired for the National Collection of Ireland by The Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2017. Other notable recent exhibitions and screenings include CCA Glasgow (2015), Whitechapel Gallery, London, (2016), The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival: Faces of Conflict, Pittsburgh, USA, (2016), The Now & After Exhibition, Video Art Festival and Exhibition, Fabrika, Moscow (2017) The BFI London Film Festival, Experimenta (2019).