Established as an artist-run gallery in 1984, the Collective is committed to supporting new visual art through a programme of exhibitions, projects and commissions. It shows sculpture, painting, film and photography, nearly all of it self-generated, and collaborates with an average of 12 artists a year, with a particularly high profile at the Edinburgh Art Festival in August and events such as the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
One commission that typifies the gallery's expansive approach was Aleksandra Mir’s How Not to Cookbook, an anthology of cooking disasters that was the starting point for an events programme that included pot-luck dinners hosted by academics and comedians with live music played in the background. The gallery was also involved in the 1mile² projects Publik Booth and Bank of Reason, which were part of a wider art programme reaching around the world to locations such as Tehran, Shanghai and Karachi.
In 2014, the gallery moved from its original location on Cockburn Street to the City Observatory on Calton Hill, which opened to the public on 24 November 2018. The site features permanent seating sculptures by Tessa Lynch, a learning space for school groups, and The Lookout by Gardener's Cottage, an informal restaurant run by the team over at Gardener's Cottage with floor-to-ceiling windows facing north-west across the city centre that is partially suspended over the hill.
Collective brings people together to look at, think about and produce contemporary art in a new kind of city observatory.
Established in 1984, Collective has long supported new work by artists who are at a pivotal stage in their development. In 2018, we open our new home on Calton Hill, featuring the restored City Observatory, City Dome, and a purpose-built exhibition space. Our programme of exhibitions, walks, and events will present contemporary art in all its diversity.
We will provide artists with the opportunity to make new work and audiences the chance to see it here first. By inspiring, engaging with, and learning from the people and groups around us, we aim to contribute to local, national, and international conversations.
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Reviews & features
Kate Gray, director of Collective: 'I'm excited by what this observatory can be for the city as a contemporary art space'23 Nov 2018
New complex on top of Calton Hill offers a sense of space and time for reflection
There's a lot to talk about with the new Collective and City Observatory complex on top of Calton Hill, but let's first direct attention to the main, William Henry Playfair-designed building at the heart of the site. Dating back to 1776 – there's also a…