Open Sessions

What are ASCUS Lab Open Sessions?

(Please note that ASCUS Lab Open Sessions are currently paused as a result of the Covid-19 crisis)

ASCUS Lab is open to anyone interested in creative experimentation using the tools of science, whether they be artist, scientist, creative/inquisitor/member of public. Whether you already have a creative idea, need help with some inspiration or simply want to come and have a go, visit us in one of our twice-weekly open sessions. Open sessions are designed to be self-led with basic technical guidance provided by our lab technician.

To visit, have a tour of the facility and chat to our lab technician is free of charge. To use the facility including all equipment we charge an access fee of £6(5). Certain basic skills are also necessary to access our lab equipment and start experimenting, these are gained easily by attending one of our 2 hr microbiology and/or microscopy inductions, or our summer or autumn skills courses

Please contact, we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about visiting ASCUS Lab.

ASCUS Lab Open Session Programme

4pm – 10pm
10am – 4pm 


Lab Tour and chat with Technician
Access to equipment (after induction)
£6/£5* per session (up to 6hrs)

(We advise that Open Session attendees begin project work by 9pm (on Thursdays) or 3pm (on Saturdays) at the latest to allow adequate time for project set-up and clean-down)

Open Session Booking

Open Sessions are drop-in sessions and anyone is welcome. It is not necessary to book but if you’d like to let us know you are coming and pay ahead if you are ready to use the equipment, please book on our Eventbrite page below.

Book here:

ASCUS Lab Inductions

Another way to access our Open Sessions is to come along to one of our themed lab inductions in Microscopy or Microbiology. Inductions are held on the first Saturday of the month during an open session, you are welcome to stay for the rest of the session and start your experimentation. Attendance to the open session is included in the price of the induction.

Price: £10/£8*
See ASCUS Calendar for upcoming dates

Join our Microbiology Lab Induction, gain unique skills to discover the fascinating, unseen microcosmos. Get to grips with how to work with microorganisms, learn how to culture, innoculate, collect samples and get introduced to our in house collection of microorganisms such as slime mould and pigmented bacteria. Be guided in how to be safe, feel empowered and independent working in ASCUS Lab and start your own creative experimentation in our supported, weekly ASCUS Lab open sessions.

Book Here:

Price: £10/£8*
See ASCUS Calendar for upcoming dates

Join us for our Microscopy Lab Induction, gain unique skills to discover the beautiful, unseen world of microscopy. Learn all you need to know to operate our darkfield, brightfield and polarised light microscopes. Be guided in how to be safe, feel empowered and independent working in ASCUS Lab and start your own creative experimentation in our weekly ASCUS Lab open sessions.


Book Here:

ASCUS Lab Membership

If you have a more in-depth project requiring more lab time and technical support over a longer period, have a look at our membership programme for expanded access to our facility

How to Find Us

1. Turn left at reception and walk down the corridor towards the cafe.
2. Turn right at the cafe and walk down the corridor towards the Anatomy Lecture theatre.
3. After going down the small set of steps, and immediately before the double doors, turn left and walk down the corridor.
4. Go through the double doors at the end of the corridor and up the stairs.
5. Turn right at the top of the stairs and go through the door into another corridor.
6. The ASCUS Lab is the door opposite the door into which you entered the corridor.

ASCUS Lab Project Proposal

If you already have some lab experience and have a project in mind you’d like to get in touch with us about, please let us know the details using the form below.

    We support artists to access not only the facilities but the tools, the concepts and the skills of science


    We are changing the idea that “A lab is inaccessible unless you’re a scientist”.

    ASCUS believes that a laboratory should be a facility accessible to everyone, so we’ve opened our own at Summerhall in Edinburgh and it sits at the intersection of art and science.

    At ASCUS Lab we want to provide open and accessible lab space for artists, scientists and the general public. To achieve this we are embarking on an innovative year round programme of art-science skills workshops and hands-on activities that will provide participants with the introductory skills needed to access the lab for independent research and experimentation. Our programme will explore and introduce a range activities based around microscopy, microbiology and DNA analysis, helping us to work towards our goal of providing the largest “open” community laboratory based in Scotland.

    ASCUS Lab was made possible by a Wellcome Trust People Award
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