Conversations with the Collection | Creative Terrains

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free

Part of Conversations with the Collection


This display weaves together some of the complex and varied conversations artists have with their surroundings. It maps a diverse range of responses to the natural environment, which can be an active, emotive, creative, or political force within artistic practice.  

Central to many of these investigations is the often precarious and contradictory relationship between humans and the world around us. Our environment is both a site of healing and belonging, and of potential alienation and conflict. Some artworks here allude to the exploitation of the landscape, charting histories of industry and ownership. Others reveal the role of creative communal projects as mechanisms of restorative change. 

Artists often respond to specific places or experiences within the landscape. In the hands of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham, forces of nature are translated into bold colours and abstracted shapes on the canvas. While some artists transform the land they encounter into monuments of dirt and rock, Hamish Fulton and Thomas Joshua Cooper hardly intervene, using their bodies to map both familiar and uncharted terrains. Their artworks are communicated through photography or written text which evoke the bodily experience of the artists’ physical and spiritual journeys.  

Together these real and imagined lands invite us to consider how visual representations shape our individual and collective identities, and our sense of place in this interconnected world. 

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Gallery facilities

Detailed information on accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

Parking for visitors is available at both Modern One and Modern Two. A donation is requested of £5 for up to 4 hours and £9 for 4-8 hours. Our payment meters have contactless capability. There is free accessible parking for blue badge holders.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Parking
  • Café
Getting here

Getting here

The Modern is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
73 & 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Conversations with the Collection

Conversations with the Collection

This is display is part of Conversations with the Collection, a changing programme of displays that offers visitors a brand new way to experience the national collection. 

A celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art, the thematic displays place creativity and conversation at their core by considering how dialogue and exchange shape and reshape artistic process.

Audio tours

Audio tours

A conversation piece

For this audio tour of the Conversations with the Collection display at Modern One we have invited guests to share their thoughts on a selection of artworks from the display. Not knowing in advance which artworks they would be discussing, these responses are honest, real and unscripted.

Welcome Audio Tour

For this tour, our curators introduce the themes of the display room by room and explain how they have drawn from the collection of modern and contemporary art to unearth evocative stories and create bold comparisons between the artists, ideas and ways of making. 

Audio Described Tour

Enjoy a selection of audio descriptions of artworks at from Conversations with the Collection. Taking over the top level of Modern One, this display is a celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art.

Families | Art chat

Families | Art chat

Designed for families aged 6+ our art chat guide helps you explore the different artworks in this exhibition and encourages you to make your own. Available to pick up in gallery or download.

Friends go free

Friends go free

Become a Friend to enjoy unique access to the nation’s art collection with unlimited free entry to exhibitions, Friends-only exhibition previews and a 10% discount in our gallery shops & cafés.

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