Scotland in Stories
Explore stories of Scotland’s people, places and culture through an imaginative mix of podcasts, walking trails, online exhibitions and more – created as part of the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Programme.
Although Scotland’s Year of Stories has come to an end, there are still plenty of ways to engage with the Community Stories Programme. In addition to delivering an exciting range of creative storytelling events during 2022, many of the programme’s participating organisations have also shared their stories in more permanent ways through publications, podcasts, films, walking trails and online exhibitions. These stories explore Scotland’s people, places and culture, past and present, and are told in a diversity of voices.
Here’s a round-up of some of the fascinating stories available to audiences, which collectively create a rich legacy for the Community Stories Programme.
The Community Stories Programme was supported by the Community Stories Fund, delivered by Museums Galleries Scotland with our partners VisitScotland, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.
A collaboration between Magic Torch Comics and Your Voice Inverclyde, Story Ceilidh brought together refugees newly settled in Inverclyde with native Scots to share traditional folk tales. This led to a lively and moving storytelling event at which tales were told by members of Greenock’s multicultural community in English, Gaelic and Arabic, and a celebratory book of the stories, with accompanying illustrations by professional artists, was published.
Photographer and history researcher Estelle Slegers Helsen teamed up with West Highland Museum to compare and contrast Lochaber of the 1940s-60s with the present day in Travel in Time. By showing photos originally taken by W.S. Thomson alongside her contemporary remakes, Estelle prompted local people to share their recollections of the places depicted – from Mallaig to Rannoch Moor. Check out the photos and stories on the Travel in Time blog.
Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery’s poem ‘Scotland, You’re No Mine’ was the springboard from which a book of new creative writing has emerged. The poem has inspired 29 groups across Scotland – including island communities, recent migrants and those who have experienced homelessness – to explore their own relationships with their home country. The resulting publication ‘I Give My Word’ provides an illuminating snapshot of contemporary Scotland.
In 1694, the Great Sand Drift swallowed up Culbin on the Moray Firth coast, shrouding it in mystery. Now Culbin: the disappeared village reveals all – laying bare the area’s fascinating history, myths and legends, as well as exploring the environmental, maritime and coastal aspects of this unique village’s story.
Greater Govanhill community magazine has hit upon an evocative way to celebrate the diversity of the local community with FONDS: Objects Speak Louder Than Words. Listen to locals talk about objects special to them, revealing intimate stories of family, identity and home. Objects from Kuwait, Brazil, Afghanistan and Romania are all featured, accompanied by stunning colour photographs by artist Morwenna Kearsley.
Powerful testimonies on the impacts of the Covid pandemic are shared by East Renfrewshire’s community in Beyond 2020: Community Reflections. Photographs, interviews and new writing explore the challenges and unexpected benefits of lockdown, building a portrait of a resilient community.
If ever there was a writer associated with a particular place, it is George Mackay Brown. One of the great Scottish writers of the 20th century, Mackay Brown’s subject was Orkney, its people, legends and history. Orkney Arts Society has devised a new Walking Trail in and around Stromness which celebrates the writer’s life and work, taking in the many places that influenced his poetry and prose.
Take A Walk Around Queer Edinburgh and listen to stories of the places and people that have shaped the city’s queer history. As told by Edinburgh’s LGBTQ+ community, stories explore the impact of historic figures such as physician and feminist Sophia Jex-Blake (1840-1912) and the beginnings of the city’s contemporary queer culture, including the opening of Scotland’s first lesbian and gay bookshop, Lavender Menace.
The importance of the fishing industry to the communities of the Ross of Mull and Iona is vividly brought to life in new film Cliabh an t-Seanachais (Creel of Stories). From the practice of salmon bag netting to the creel fishing trade that continues to support families today, the story is told by locals of all generations.
Auchindrain Historic Township’s series of videos – Our Stories: Traditional Gaelic Storytelling – offers the opportunity to hear traditional tales associated with Argyll and to learn a bit of Argyll Gaelic yourself. Sitting in front of a roaring fire inside one of the township’s original houses, tradition bearer Àdhamh Ò Broin shares stories and sayings that reflect the changing seasons, including Latha Bealltainn/Beltane and An t-Samhain/Samain.
Deaf Action, the oldest deaf centre in the world, has played host over the years to weddings, church services, theatrical performances and a thriving social club. Members of the Deaf community share their memories of this unique charity and its historic Edinburgh building in a series of insightful film clips.
What links a successful jewel thief, the world’s finest maker of salmon fishing flies and the Witch of Auldearn? Their stories all feature in Museums and Heritage Highland’s fascinating new podcast series Unforgotten Highland Women, which was recorded at live events across the Highlands in 2022 and shines a light on some remarkable local women.
Pioneering podcast series Seen & Heard focuses on inclusion and representation in Scottish sport – covering hot topics such as Football vs Homophobia, LGBTQIA+ sports journalism and the visibility of disability sports.
Harbour Voices celebrates the lives and livelihoods of people who call the harbour area of Aberdeen home. A RNLI volunteer with the Aberdeen Lifeboat Station, a barmaid at local institution The Fittie Bar, and a curator of the city’s maritime history and archaeology collections are among those sharing stories of what it’s like to live and work at the edge of a global port and the North Sea.