Introducing aAh! – your arts and culture magazine

In each issue, aAh! magazine will interrogate one word which will run as a theme through our regular features, opinion pieces, spotlights, interviews, previews, art, poetry, flash fiction, photography and music. Our first is the UGLY issue.


There is plenty of ‘ugliness’ in the world but, when it comes down to it, could we all agree on exactly where and what that ugliness is? Is it simply a shock or disturbance from the conservative status quo? Is what’s ugly simply what’s different? Are ugly and beauty as different as you may first think?

Perhaps everyone’s ugly in their own special way, like a kind of inverse talent. Some trying very hard to get around it, to hide it, chop it off or drown it in apology. Some trying to transform it, or justify it by cultivating it in others. Some ugliness becomes intolerant toward other ugliness. Some ugliness is beautiful. We make some of it and are some of it and also aren’t – so what the hell is it?

We are looking for features, previews, interviews, creative prose, poetry, artwork, and photography that offer a critical, insightful and creative slant on the idea of UGLINESS. We are looking for inventive and thought-provoking perspectives in the hope to create a magazine that opens conversations and breaks convention.

Here is a list of a few possible ideas to write on:

  • Body-shaming, trolls and self-obsessive-image-comparing. The notion of ‘beauty’ and what lies beneath it.
  • ‘Ugly’ art, street art, conceptual fashion, and alternative music.
  • Ugly truths, hate crime, violence, political corruption, and ugly histories. There’s bullying and toxic relationships.
  • Anarchy, protest and activism.
  • Is there an ugly taste? Ugly buildings, ugly spaces, ugly advertisements, ugly branding and ugly designs and clothing.
  • Is there such thing as ugly thoughts? Is there a ‘beautiful’ state of mind? – Mental health depression, anxiety.
  • Food that tastes great but looks awful? The worst places you’ve eaten/travelled/visited.
  • It could also involve a general abjection, otherness, or displaced communities and/or narratives

Please submit a draft headline, estimated word count and two sentences describing your proposed piece by Friday 6th April. Further deadline to follow.