ACA Observatory

We are delighted to announce that the recently upgraded North Pennines Observatory, now run by Allenheads Contemporary Arts, re-opens its doors with 2 events in partnership with the professional stargazing team AstroVentures.

More information and tickets from Eventbrite

Astronomy For Beginners Fri 26th November

Dark Sky Discovery Friday 3rd December

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Astronomy for Absolute Beginners is specifically aimed at helping newcomers to stargazing find their way around the cosmos. Our expert team will explain how to prepare for a night of astronomy, covering things like equipment & technology. At the conclusion of the evening, you'll be able to guide yourself around some of the more easily recognisable features of the night sky including some of the constellations, features of the moon, the near earth planets, and other things such as aurorae, star clusters and the Andromeda Galaxy - easily seen with the naked eye during clear dark skies.

Dark sky Discovery Away from light pollution you can truly appreciate the infinite depth of the cosmos and will be introduced to the planets of our solar system as well as view any comets that might be passing by. Some of the most inspiring objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies containing billions of suns are also seen clearly under dark skies and they never fail to amaze.

During the evening we'll guide you through the universe and talk about how to find dark skies near you, and how to plan your own evening of dark skies stargazing. We'll also touch on some easy-to-understand cosmology and introduce you to the science of the stars and beyond!

During the winter months we stay warm by steering our main telescope from the observatory warm room and our large classroom is used for presentations with HD projector and surround sound, a comfortable way to be introduced to the dark starry skies of Northumberland and the universe beyond, with free hot drinks.

We are unable to control the weather, so stargazing can only go ahead if it's clear but you'll be pleased to know that all events go ahead in any weather conditions.

Suitable for beginners and enthusiasts from age 10 to 100.

Prices are at a reduced rate for this season only to celebrate the re-opening of the Observatory at ACA.

ACA's  gallery window exhibitions continue with Chantal Bron's

When you have become quite wild


Bron’s work is inspired by nature and fiction and linked to her lifelong biological interest. Fascinated by interdisciplinary explorers and outdoor researchers like Charles Darwin, she dwells on the magic of other life forms, exploring different beings and creating new ones through drawings, paintings and etchings.


When you have become quite wild shows works inspired by the artist’s expeditions through woods, hills and valleys where she watches wildlife and collects wondrous objects. By assembling her finds she creates small dioramas and shrines which point out the fragility and intensity of our relationship with the natural world.

Bron’s works awaken childlike moments of awe and wonder. Immersed in nature we are freed from human identity and become one with our fellow creatures, connecting us in life and death.


The title of the exhibition is inspired by a quote from the linguist, ethnologist and novelist Jaime de Angulo, “When you have become quite wild, then perhaps one of the wild things will come to take a look at you, and one of them may take a fancy to you, not because you are suffering and cold, but simply because he happens to like your looks. When this happens, the wandering is over, and the Indian becomes a Shaman.”


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Nothing by Alan smith


Nothing evidences the importance of casting a net with no anticipated catch, or predetermined focus. On the 17th 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 and with the exclusion of human presence and 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 ending on the 16th January 2021.


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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: