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Collective - City Observatory


In Person

Collective is a free contemporary art centre that brings creative new perspectives to the city of Edinburgh.

Situated in a heritage observatory, Collective develops and presents world-class exhibitions, events, workshops and discussions from ground-breaking local and international artists. We run artist-led activities for young people, as well as the sector-leading development programme for emerging creative practitioners, Satellites.

Founded in 1984 as an artist-run initiative, Collective now runs from our home on Edinburgh’s iconic Calton Hill.

Explore our site, including our two summer exhibitions and the heritage listed City Observatory with its two antique telescopes. Visitors can view the Transit Telescope on the ground level and enjoy a tour of the Cooke Telescope with The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh. A free flyer will be available on the day. Please note, the Cooke Telescope is at the top of an uneven spiral staircase, and due to the heritage listed nature of the building we are unable to provide lift access.

Digital Resources

Collective Observations

Sugar, ships and science: The City Observatory and Caribbean commerce.
Lisa Williams, author, poet, and founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association, explores the role that the City Observatory played in shipping to and from Leith. Now home to Collective, the City Observatory site has a long history as a crucial provider of accurate time to the city of Edinburgh and the Port of Leith. Time was kept by tracking celestial objects passing over the transit telescope which still sits in the Observatory today.
In her presentation, Lisa discusses the lives of the founding members of the Observatory and the development of mathematics and science, both of which were intertwined with the Transatlantic slave trade and buoyed up by colonial commerce.
Listen to Lisa's presentation!

Key Information

 Enjoy a tour of the Cooke Telescope with The Astronomical Society of Edinburgh.


Where to find us

  • 38 Calton Hill
  • Edinburgh
  • EH7 5AA
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