ACA Observatory

The North Pennines Observatory, now run by Allenheads Contemporary Arts.

Saturday 22 October 2022 - 8pm

Most of our universe is missing!

A presentation by Dr Peter Edwards


When we look into the night sky we realise there is much more out there than meets the eye. Our universe is filled with mysterious dark matter, whose gravity provides the cosmic glue that holds it all together, and dark energy, which is slowly tearing the universe apart. It seems that darkness rules. But what is this dark stuff? How do we know it is there? What does it do? Durham University lecturer Dr Peter Edwards will provide some answers. After the talk you will do some stargazing (sky conditions permitting) in the Observatory.


Wrap up warm and bring a red light torch (if you have one).  Access to the North Pennine Observatory is via a steep access road and there is only very limited space for parking – please park considerately in the village and walk up.

This event is part of the North Pennines Stargazing Festival

running from 21 to 30 October 2022

www.NorthPenninesStarFest.org.uk #NorthPennStarFest22


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Moon photographs taken from ACA Observatory

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Pete Edwards enlightening us at ACA on matters of dark matter.

2 years of Nothing is currently installed at The Chinese European Art Center in Xiamen, China. an audio video work by Alan smith



Nothing evidences the importance of casting a net with no anticipated catch, or predetermined focus.


On the 17th of January 2020 I began capturing videos every day, three per location and each for 20 seconds. Using my phone, I captured the Nothing videos from wherever I happened to be, with the exclusion of any human presence and with no limit to the number of video sets per day.


For the film, a sequence was constructed with a new video appearing every 2:3 seconds and remaining visible for 19:07 seconds, (19:07 is apparently the average length of time someone looks at an artwork in a gallery). The videos sequentially roll through time covering a period of one year starting on the 17th January ending on the 16th January the following year and rolling into the next year on the 17th.

At the outset, the videos were personal to me, the three 20 second videos amounted to a one-minute rest break, necessary while out walking, as I was striving to recover my breathing through asthma.

I couldn’t have known of the impending, significant shift in daily life that would be brought about by Coronavirus; socially, culturally, in employment and with human visibility and physical contact diluted to an absolute minimum, ‘Nothing’ had been contextually relocated and questions regarding solitude and isolation while on my walks became more significant.

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Living in the remote village of Allenheads in rural Northumberland has provided space, quiet, and a strong sense of seclusion for the last 27 years. But Covid brought a whole new silence and with my senses on high alert my experience of place was amplified and the magnitude of all around me from the smallest particles to the grandest expansive vistas had become as if in high definition. The seemingly inconsequential had been stirred, redirecting the way I had previously and inadvertently engaged with planet Earth. Normality had lost all meaning and ‘Nothing’ was growing in scale and importance. ‘Nothing’ had become a new way of recognising time as it passes and reconnected me with the place I have lived for 27 years. ‘Nothing’ and the covid isolation rebooted me and I became more able to see and feel my locale with a new purpose.

Personally, I am astounded by the immense power that each set of three videos has to trigger detailed and specific memories of each location, time of day and feelings. Engaging with the seasonal changes the twelve month cycle has gifted me a time-lapse of life events, meteorological movement and psychological and emotional shifts.

I am now in my third period of ‘Nothing’ which will end on January 16th 2023, I have to ask myself will it continue? I am starting to believe that ‘Nothing’ can last forever.


Call Centre an experimental  response to COVID-19

Visit the Call Centre blog  and the Call Centre Facebook group

ACA is a network host for Dartington Arts School's radical new MA, Arts and Place.

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Open to practitioners and curators working in any art form, MA Arts and Place helps artists develop personal and collaborative practice in response to an expanded understanding of place.


In the current circumstances we are increasingly confronted with complex challenges that require new ways of experiencing place and of adapting our practice. This course enables you to develop your creative and professional practice, build up your knowledge of the sector, and gain really practical skills while networking and working with others.


Applications: We are accepting applications on a rolling basis until the course is full.


Apply: via the application form on the course page: