Historically, observations made from the City Observatory on Calton Hill have re-shaped how we view and relate to the world around us. It is where astronomers observed and calculated accurate time, aiding ships docked in Leith to navigate and connecting Edinburgh to the world. It is also where the artist Robert Barker created the first panorama, expanding the pictorial field and horizon. As custodians of this site, Collective are inspired by the history of ingenuity but we understand that narrative of progress is incomplete and complicated.
This autumn we present Collective Observations - a series of online events which explore these complications, re-question the dominant narratives of the past, and consider these in our current social and political landscape:
24 Sep, Lisa Williams – will explore the connections between the City Observatory’s past, colonial commerce and the Transatlantic slave trade.
1 Oct, Tim Gill - presents his research considering the effects of COVID-19, on the changing nature of children’s play and free time.
8 Oct, Harry Josephine Giles and Sasha Saben Callaghan - launch Not Going Back to Normal, a manifesto of art and ideas by disabled artists for the post-pandemic era.
14 Oct, Laura Yuile and Nora O Murchú - will be in conversation to explore the themes in in Laura’s recent lockdown film commission for Collective, ‘Gated Community’.
22 Oct, Karen Cunningham, Collective’s artist in residence – will launch her new film ‘Mean Time’, based on her research into the structures on Calton Hill and their relationships to colonialism, technology, and travel.
28 Oct, Scott Rogers – presents a new film work made on Calton Hill, ‘The Rowan Feeds the Blackbird, the Blackbird Sows the Rowan’, exploring the political and ecological implications of ‘mutualism’.
Collective Observations will be presented free online, with donations welcome. Advance booking via Eventbrite is essential.