Professor Aiken studied at Chelsea School of Art (now called Chelsea College of Art and Design), a constituent college of the University of the Arts London. He first worked as a Rome Scholar in Sculpture at the British School in Rome. He then began teaching at the Art and Design Centre of the University of Ulster and subsequently taught at many universities and art schools in Britain and abroad on a regular and visiting basis.
Professor Aiken was the Slade Chair of Fine Art and Director of the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London prior to joining HKBU.
He directed the Slade School for 10 years, and demonstrated his leadership in establishing the Slade as a top art school in the United Kingdom and internationally. He is also one of the founding members of the European Art Research Network (EARN) which links a number of European university art schools in the development of doctoral programmes.
Professor Aiken has an excellent track record of research and creative output. His research interests include contemporary art and architecture; the relationship between architecture and landscape; the methodologies of cities; and art, medicine and the multi-disciplinary concept of wellbeing. As a practising artist, he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has also made a number of large-scale public sculptures and environmental works for public and private commissions internationally including St Anne’s Square, Belfast 1991; Guilin, China 1998; Newgate Bastion, Derry 1999; Urban Studies Plaza and Center for Government, Portland Oregon 2001; University College Hospital, London 2004; Paddington Central, London 2008/9; Wednesfield, Wolverhampton 2009/10 and Jiande City, Zhejiang Province, China 2011.
Professor Aiken is also familiar with art education in Hong Kong, having reviewed academic programmes at the Academy of Visual Arts of HKBU and the Hong Kong Art School in the past few years.