SMALL WEBSITE EDITED Collective ft Zoe Gibson Gala Day Poster MB5 7696 Image by Mihaela Bodlovic

Collective Gala


17 Sep 2023  

10am – 5pm 

Celebrate with us as we mark five years since opening the newly restored City Observatory as a centre for contemporary art!

Taking place on Sunday 17 September, the Collective Gala will invite audiences to immerse themselves in Collective’s site and programmes. Visitors will have the chance to explore newly commissioned work by Scottish and international artists; take building and astronomy tours; shop with local makers; enjoy local street food; and take part in creative play sessions for children.

The day will culminate in a newly commissioned performance by Edinburgh born, Dundee based, Zoë Gibson – conjuring a celestial revel of sky-beings drawn in playful procession to Edinburgh’s Calton Hill and the City Observatory.

The Gala will run from 10am-5pm, with a schedule of activities designed to celebrate all things Collective.

All day activities will include the opportunity to see and buy work from local makers; street food from local favourites; Observers Walks, our artist-created audio tours; the chance to explore the architecture of the site, including the restaurant building, home to The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage; and our summer exhibitions, I wear my wounds on my tongue (II) and DANCE IN THE SACRED DOMAIN.

Scheduled activities include creative play sessions for families, running in the morning and afternoon, led by local artist Frieda Ford; Edinburgh Astronomical Society tours of the historic Cook Telescope; a historical tour of Collective and Calton Hill by author, poet and founder of the Edinburgh Caribbean Association Lisa Williams; and talks from the programme team about our summer exhibitions.

The day will culminate in a newly commissioned performance by Edinburgh-born and Dundee-based artist and maker Zoë Gibson. Zoë is a multidisciplinary artist whose works combine sculpture, filmmaking, installation, mural painting and drawing. For Collective Gala, Zoë creates a new performance artwork, imagining a celestial revel of sun, moon, comets and sky-beings as they converge in playful procession in and around the City Observatory.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore Observatory House, the original astronomer’s residence, now refurbished into a unique hilltop retreat.

We will be announcing the full schedule soon – please keep an eye on our social media and this page for details. All activities will be bookable on the day through a queuing app, which will be accessible through QR codes across the site.