Galway Community Circus Seeks a Board Chairperson

Galway Community Circus is Ireland’s flagship organisation for youth and social circus located in the heart of Galway City with a local, national and international remit. Our mission is to unlock personal and creative potential and deliver social inclusion for young people through circus arts. We are committed to creating an innovative, artistic and imaginative learning experience where all young people can realise their full potential.

The organisation has grown over four-fold in the past five years. We now have over 500 weekly participants with a significant waiting list for our youth circus programme and increasing demand for new social circus partnerships. We are embarking on a critical period of strategic development, which will firmly secure our position as an important cultural organisation not only in a local capacity, but also in national and international contexts. The next three years will provide a major opportunity for us to change the landscape of youth and social circus in Ireland as detailed in our recently completed strategic plan 2018-2020.

We secured strategic funding from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2018. Over the next three years, we will work with Galway 2020 to produce one of the nine anchor projects of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme, ‘Wires Crossed’. We are developing our social circus programmes with the support from Social Innovation Fund Ireland and Mason Hayes & Curran who awarded us the Engage and Educate Award in June 2017 for our circus arts in education programme. This award allows us to develop our social enterprise model and build our capacity. We are also working with Galway City Council to relocate to new dedicated premises, which will become the Centre for Youth and Social Circus in Ireland, and with NUI Galway to develop a university level training course for youth and social circus educators.

These are huge achievements for us, and it is vital that we are in a strong position to make the most of them to allow the organisation to build a sustainable model of excellence for youth and social circus practice, which is unique in Ireland.

Therefore, we are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated and driven person to join our Board of Directors as Chairperson and help us achieve our vision and new strategic objectives. This is a very exciting opportunity for someone who is passionate about playing a vital role in the development of the circus arts sector in Ireland and strategically driving the Wires Crossed project as part of the Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture programme.


Chairperson: Role Description & Person Specification

The Board seeks to ensure that, in its entirety, it has the necessary skills to support Galway Community Circus’s mission and purpose effectively. Profile of the board should include finance, arts policy, youth work and education, social enterprise, governance and local networks. To this end, the organisation is currently seeking to fill a vacancy of a Chairperson with a strategic role in helping us achieve our vision and strategic objectives.


Core Responsibilities of Chairperson

  • Contribute to the strategic development of the organisation though the board and strategy sub-committee
  • Ensure the board meetings are effectively run, all members are able to participate, decision-making is clear and transparent, and that the committee and organisation functions to standards of good practice in accordance with the governing document
  • Liaise with the Executive Creative Director, as appropriate, to keep an overview of the organisation affairs
  • Ensure support and supervision is provided to the Executive Creative Director either personally or through a contracted arrangement
  • Represent the organisation at external meetings or events as required from time to time and communicate effectively the vision and purpose of the organisation
  • To be aware of current issues that might affect the organisation

Qualities and skills required:

  • Previous experience as a board member of an arts or other non-profit organisation
  • Business acumen and experience in strategic planning and development
  • Sound understanding of Board roles and responsibilities
  • Good leadership skills, communication and interpersonal skills
  • Impartiality, fairness and ability to respect confidences
  • Ability to ensure decisions are taken and followed up



In common with all organisations, which are registered charities, all members of Galway Community Circus board do so in a voluntary capacity, and do not receive payment for their services (although travel and any other legitimate expenses are reimbursed).

The legal duties for board members of a company limited by guarantee are specified in Company Law and Galway Community Circus board conducts its work in compliance with the Governance Code for Community, Voluntary & Charitable Organisations. It is important to note the following requirements for all board members:

  • A commitment to the vision, mission and objectives of Galway Community Circus and support for its ethos and values.
  • The ability to devote sufficient time to perform Board duties satisfactorily. Attendance at all Board meetings: seven meetings per year plus the AGM.

The board welcomes expressions of interest and will review all candidates using the information provided. In making its decision, the board will look for evidence of passion for Galway Community Circus’s development; previous board experience; an ability to contribute to the cohesion of the board; and evidence of leadership in the candidate’s field of work.

Each member is appointed for a three-year term, with the possibility of one further three-year term.

If you are interested in joining Galway Community Circus Board of Directors at this very exciting time for our organisation, please contact Ulla Hokkanen, Executive Creative Director of Galway Community Circus by phone 087 7764315 or email

Supported by


C/o St Joseph's Community Centre,
Ashe Road, Shantalla, Galway
+353 85 111 7224
Charity number 17420
Company registration number 453185