Edinburgh resident, Akiko Kobayashi, is part of a new portrait series called ‘Ticket To Your Happy Place’ shot by photographer Tom Oldham and commissioned by The National Lottery. The portrait series celebrates all the places that make us happy, that we love to visit, and have missed over the past year. Akiko’s happy place is contemporary art centre, Collective, on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill.

The portraits have been commissioned to celebrate The National Lottery Open Week, which offers discounts and free entry at participating venues from 5 -13 June, and The National Lottery Cinema Weekend, which offers free cinema tickets at more than 500 cinema sites across the UK on 19 and 20 June. All as a thank you for the £30 million raised for good causes every week by National Lottery players.

Collective will offer free guided tours of its historic home on Edinburgh’s City Observatory site throughout The National Lottery Open Week. The site has a fascinating history of astronomy, time-keeping and, more recently, art. The guided tours offer insight into some of the remarkable stories, discoveries, and personalities which have shaped Calton Hill and made their influence felt across the globe over the past 200 years.

Akiko Kobayashi in her ‘Happy Place (James Hole Photography)

When asked why Collective is her happy place, 43-year-old architect Akiko reveals: “The place is awe-inspiring and makes me feel rooted both in the city and in the wider landscape at the same time. You can see the weather coming across from surrounding areas, and the saturated colours on Arthur’s Seat are quite surreal when the sun shines! I’m looking forward to seeing Collective open its doors again, and I’m pleased it’s part of The National Lottery Open Week”.

Kate Gray, Director at Collective said: “We’re thrilled that Akiko picked Collective as her ‘happy place’. Akiko contributes her time voluntarily as a trustee for our charity, so we think it’s wonderful that her connection with our extraordinary home is so strong”.

“We’re excited to be taking part in The National Lottery Open Week this June. Over the last five years, we’ve been fortunate to receive National Lottery funding, which helped us to re-purpose our historic home as a centre for contemporary art. So, this is our way of saying thank you to everyone who has bought a National Lottery ticket, helped us on our journey and made a vital contribution to supporting good causes. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back.”

James Hole Photography

Recent research from The National Lottery reveals eight in ten (81%) of UK adults have missed their ‘happy place’ during lockdown, whilst over half (57%) intend to visit their happy place at the earliest possible opportunity. Over three-quarters (79%) agree that we are fortunate in the UK to have a wide range of attractions, cultural sites, history, and art on the doorstep.

From Saturday 5 to Sunday 13 June, The National Lottery Open Week line-up includes free entry as well as exclusive discounts and offers at venues and experiences across the UK, for anyone with a valid National Lottery ticket or scratchcard. From galleries and museums, to historic castles and gardens as well as sports stadiums and nature reserves, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

And for those whose happy place is enjoying a film at the cinema, The National Lottery Cinema Weekend, in partnership with the BFI, will take place on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 June at around 500 cinema sites across the UK. Cinema Weekend will make over 200,000 free adult tickets available for any film screening across the weekend, as a thank you to National Lottery players for their vital contribution to film.

To search for your nearest participating happy place venues and cinemas, where your National Lottery ticket or scratchcard will unlock these special offers, head to www.NationalLotteryUnlocked.com.
Terms and conditions and booking instructions across special offers will vary, check the individual offer listing for details.
Please check your relevant national and local authority website for more information on COVID-19 restrictions where you live before booking. Also check local guidance before travelling.