The board and editors of CIRCA are delighted to have Chris Hayes join us as assistant editor. We look forward to working with him in this new era of CIRCA Art Magazine’s editorial life.

Chris Hayes is an Irish art critic based in London. He is a former Co-Director of Ormston House, and was an arts columnist with the Limerick Leader newspaper. His writing has appeared in Time Out, the Temporary Art Review, the Visual Artists’ News Sheet, the Irish Arts Review, Critical Bastards, Paper Visual Art and CIRCA Art Magazine. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram.



Coming up Friday 20 April: Ingrid Lyons writes on Tamara Henderson,
Seasons End: More Than Suitcases, at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.









Coming up Tuesday 24 April: Joan Fowler, ‘Byrne Time’









To publish a magazine is to enter into a heightened relationship with the present moment.”

Gwen Allen

CIRCA Art Magazine is calling for short texts responding to contemporary visual arts projects, exhibitions and performances which have happened or are taking place throughout Ireland from September 2017 up to submission date.

Taking our cue from the quote above by Gwen Allen, This Matters Now is an open call project expanding our research into the relationship between art writing, art magazines and the present moment. The first two series published in 2016 and 2017 can be accessed here http://circaartmagazine.website/this-matters-now/

Respondents are invited to write on what intrigues, moves or disturbs in the particular exhibition or project they have chosen. We aim for This Matters Now to be a dynamic space for engaged writing around visual arts in Ireland.

The suggested word count is 300 words. Additional contextual information can be supplied by linking a press release or a project description. If a high resolution image could be sourced by the writer that would be very welcome.

For this third edition of This Matter Now 25 texts will be selected from the Open Call. An issue of five will be published  every two weeks on http://circaartmagazine. website/ during February and March 2018.

A fee of € 50 (or the equivalent in Sterling) will be paid for each piece published.

You can send proposals and/or completed submissions to editors@circaartmagazine.website.

We will accept submissions up to and until Friday 19th January 2018.

Please Note: All submissions should be previously unpublished. CIRCA Art Magazine publishes art writing in all its forms but not promotional material. In the interests of objectivity we do not accept submissions from persons professionally or personally connected with the proposed exhibition or project.

Image caption: detail from Chanting Heads, a traveling sculpture by Keith Piper in collaboration with the Artangel Trust, from the cover of CIRCA Art Magazine Jan/Feb 1988.


We are delighted to announce that thanks to AC support we will be able to roll out a full schedule of reviews, essays and projects in 2018!

Or about 40 reviews plus Essays, Artist’s Projects, Art Routes, Conversations with artists and curators plus a series of This Matter Now and one of Degree Shows: Writers’ Choice.

2018 is looking really exciting!



We are currently working as industry partner with a team of graduates from the Digital Skills Academy, Dublin to re- design and re-develop the website. More about it soon.


Essays is a new CIRCA commission for longer texts that make a proposition, stake a position, explore a specific topic or open a line of inquiry of relevance to the visual arts.


Editorial to Degree Shows 2017: Writers’ Choice

For the Degree Shows 2017: Writers’ Choice, CIRCA Art magazine has commissioned 21 writers to respond to the work of their chosen graduate from eleven BA Degree Shows and two MA shows on the island of Ireland.

Our main focus was on Undergraduate Fine Art Degree Shows: first, regarding dates, we surveyed the shows taking place between the end of May and mid-June and so MA exhibitions taking place outside of this time period could not be included. We also wished to emphasise the importance of undergraduate work at a time when it is evident that the attention of some art schools is shifting towards post-graduate programmes. And lastly, we want to make a stand for Fine Art, however old fashioned the term. Not as a means of excluding any media, but to insist on a way of making and thinking that has always eluded easy definition and which, perhaps, resonates best with experimentation, research, criticality, irreverence and disruption. As such it is distinct from the functional aims and methodologies of design, no matter how creative the latter.

Given the current global trend and demand for higher education to serve economic objectives – in Ireland this is epitomised by the publication in 2011 of the National Strategy for Higher Education 2030, known as the Hunt Report* – we are concerned that some Fine Art departments might not survive for much longer. Some might argue that there are too many for what the sector can support, but that is reducing an art education to a career and not acknowledging its fantastic educational and emancipatory potential, nor its societal value.

We endeavoured to be as comprehensive as possible in our coverage of the shows and we very much hope that all departments and schools represented will still be around for next year’s Degree Shows: Writers’ Choice. We are of course indebted to the writers for their incisive and expressive responses. Collectively and over the next month their words will convey the talent, energy, interests and concerns of the next generation of artists in Ireland.

The shows covered include: The Institute of Art, Design and Technology at Dún Laoghaire; Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Centre for Creative Arts and Media, Cluain Mhuire and Mayo Campus at Castlebar; Carlow IT, Wexford Campus School of Art and Design; University of Ulster, Belfast School of Art; Sligo Institute of Technology; Limerick School of Art and Design; Cork Institute of Technology, Crawford College of Art and Design; Waterford Institute of Technology; Dublin Institute of Technology; and the National College of Art and Design.

* http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/National-Strategy-for-Higher-Education-2030-Implementation-Plan.pdf



This Matters Now 2018




Art Routes: Across Europe.

Click on images below for texts on Degree Shows.

Degree Shows 2017: Writers' Choice

This Matters Now



The art and writings of John Kelly, an awkward bugger

All proceeds go to Circa Art Magazine.

“Circa-ish restores a much-needed critical voice to challenge the tame consensus that rules the discourse on Irish art.”
John P. O’Sullivan, Sunday Times Art and Literature Critic


Recent Blog Posts

May 2016

What’s Needed Now?  

CIRCA Art Magazine, a Work in Progress. 

And so it is that we are taking on the responsibility of devising a future for CIRCA; a prospect that is both exciting and not a little daunting. We both encountered the magazine as an established institution, which had been publishing reviews, news and articles since 1981, accompanying and, arguably, fostering the development of visual arts in Ireland.

We were both contributors (Marian from 1995 to 2000 and Michaële from 2007 to 2012), so we consider ourselves to be part of CIRCA’s broad constituency. We aim to reconnect with this constituency as well as to involve a new and younger generation of artists, writers, readers and producers who may not remember so well what CIRCA was, but can well imagine what it could be. 

At present CIRCA functions as an online archive, a vivid and rich record of thirty years of the visual arts in Ireland. Because we are considering a new departure, we intuitively turned to the early issues, looking for the impulse and intentions that led to the publication of a new art magazine. The context of the early 1980s in Northern Ireland may feel somewhat remote from our present, and yet we can easily relate to the stated intentions of the first issue’s editorial written by Anne Carlisle and Christopher Coppock:

“CIRCA will look at art production in a broad sense; we feel it is important to strike a balance between articles on particular art and artists and a more searching analysis of art production in a socio-political context.”

Since CIRCA stopped publishing in 2010, there has been ongoing and varied production of writings on art in Ireland by a number of publications, printed and online, but it is perhaps this previous ambition to engage and try to make sense of the multiple contexts within which art is produced and experienced that has, at least in recent times, been less upheld.

In the 1990s CIRCA’s adopted the following mission statement:

“CIRCA is concerned with visual culture in, of and around Ireland. Within visual culture nothing in principle is excluded. CIRCA addresses itself to the politics of location, and to an investigation of the specific conditions affecting the making and reception of art.”

That is as a good a way as any to start thinking about what an art magazine such as CIRCA – whatever its form – in 21st century Ireland might be. Its potential role and impact outside of Ireland is also worth considering. Connecting internationally would be part of our remit.

While our initial focus will be on the archives and the website we intend to explore the relevance and sustainability of a return to print.

Your ideas are sought and welcome. Please contact editors@circaartmagazine.website.

Michaële and Marian

view older updates


UPDATE, April 2016: Michaële Cutaya and Marian Lovett have been chosen to lead Circa forward. They were selected from the second round of proposal submissions received in March 2016.

Michaële Cutaya is a writer and researcher on art living in County Galway. She writes essays and reviews for Irish publications in print and online. She co-founded Fugitive Papers in 2011. She continues a contextual writing and discursive practice in the West of Ireland and has regularly convened and participated in public discussions on art and its broader social and political framework. She has been invited to present ongoing research on writing and publications in art colleges and institutions. 

Marian Lovett is a writer, curator and project manager dividing her time between Sligo and Dublin. She was the acting director and curatorial advisor at the Limerick City Gallery (2010-2011) and  director of Temple Bar Gallery and Studios for nine years (2001-2010). She has also worked in project management (Artworking, 1996-2001) and in art education (Limerick School of Art and Design, 1990-1994). 


UPDATE, January 2016: Proposals for the future of Circa were received in November 2015, after an open call. Gemma Tipton provided an initial assessment of the proposals. Three submissions have now been chosen for second-stage development. They came from Marian Lovett, Kate O’Keeffe and Michaële Cutaya. Joint or separate proposals are now due by the first week of March 2016.



Welcome to Circa Art Magazine’s Archive.

Circa was Ireland’s leading art magazine from 1981 to around 2011.

A series of events, mostly recession-related, led to a cessation of publication in 2011. This site archives much of what Circa was. The site will improve over time, as more content is uploaded and linked in.

August 2015: Scans of the first 110 issues of Circa have been added. Select your issues here.

Please get in touch with any queries / problems (there is a lot to be cleaned up on this site…).

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