Collective: The Opening, Sylvia Federici & Workers!

The old observatory building atop Calton Hill that has been renovated and is now a part of Collective.

This weekend Collective opened their new £4.5 Million development of the City Observatory on top of Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The gallery opened for a private event on Thursday evening which displayed the beautiful location lit up with lanterns and strings of lights along with drinks and a choir performance.

The view from the new Collective Gallery atop Calton Hill in Edinburgh

As part of this opening event, you were able to look around the different rooms and really get a feel for the location and how Collective have managed to incorporate the heritage site into their modern and stylish gallery.

The following evening, Collective along with the Talbot Rice Gallery held a talk by Italian-American feminist writer, activist and teacher Silvia Federici, at the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre at the University of Edinburgh.

The event sold out twice, both in a smaller venue and subsequently at the larger Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre, yet despite the packed nature of the room, it was spectacularly quiet with everyone focused on Silvia as she spoke.

During the talk, Silvia Federici spoke of the global struggle against capitalism: “Capitalism, far from being a production of wealth, is the constant production of scarcity”.

She called on prioritisation of re-valuing reproductive labour in order to create communities which can sustain a long struggle against big industry and capitalists.

Sunday saw the premier of Workers! a collaboration between Collective, Scot-Pep and the Swedish artist Petra Bauer.

The project produced a 40 minute long film, detailing a one day occupation of the Scottish Trade Union building in Glasgow, a space which is very fraught for sex workers who are routinely not allowed access to traditional means of unionising.

During the course of the film a number of conversations take place detailing the struggles of the individuals as their unique issues and personal situations are divulged, painting an image of the sex worker rights movement as a collection of divergent people working together to support one another.

The film was followed by a panel discussion featuring members of Scot-Pep, Molly Smith (co-author of Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight For Sex Workers Rights), Frances Stacey from Collective, Petra Bauer, and Silvia Federici.

The weekend ended with drinks to celebrate the premier of the film and a successful launch of the all new Collective.