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Scottish International Storytelling Festival Wins New Funding


Friday 18 to Thursday 31 October 2019


This year’s Scottish International Storytelling Festival is the first to benefit from increased funding. The Festival has been awarded £100,000 by the PLACE (Platforms for Creative Excellence Fund), set up jointly by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.

With this new support, the Festival has created the world’s first Global Storytelling Lab, which will explore how storytelling worldwide can help tackle the Global Climate Emergency. The Lab will blend indigenous traditions with new tales of radical activism. In addition to First Nation storytellers, the Lab will hear from Chief RoseAnne Archibald of Ontario, Brazilian storyteller Anamaria Lines who is fresh from a spell in the Amazon Rainforest, the Skye Seanachaidh Seoras Macpherson, and Extinction Rebellion activist Grian Cutanda. At the Lab, he will launch the world’s first anthology of Earth Stories, aligned with the principles of the Earth Charter.

Also funded is the Festival’s first Community Programme, supporting 100 locally led events across Scotland. From Sea Scouts to community woodlands, mental health groups to heritage sites and nature reserves to women speaking out, the Community Programme empowers Scotland’s people to give voice and share their own stories. The programme is enabled by a network of storytellers and activists in communities across Scotland and by the Festival’s guest artists who travel out of Edinburgh to meet and support local groups.

Thirdly, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is commissioning ten Creative Place projects, allowing storytellers to engage with new themes and audiences. Amongst these is a community heritage project in The Cabrach in Moray, one of Scotland’s most de-populated rural areas. This will support storyteller Jackie Ross from Lumphanan to collect and weave local stories in Scots and to help articulate The Cabrach story, past, present and future.

In Edinburgh, by contrast, storytellers Fergus McNicol and Ron Fairweather (known as the duo ‘Macastory’) and Jane Mather are working in the extended urban areas of Lochend, Craigentinny and Restalrig to unearth forgotten stories, songs and street rhymes. The area has rich heritage and culture ripe for revival and celebration.

Donald Smith, Scottish International Storytelling Festival Director, says:

‘This new funding is a huge boost for the Storytelling Festival. We are already indebted to the Scottish Government Festival Expo Fund, Creative Scotland and Edinburgh City Council, but with PLACE we can go further and deeper. We hope very much that we will be able to build on this over the next two years.’

Ruth Kirkpatrick, Chair of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, says:

‘This year’s local events have been snapped up. There is a hunger for the kind of community belonging, and the hospitality that traditional storytelling fosters.’

For further information, images, interviews and press ticket requests:

Annemarie Froemke | Marketing & Communications Development Officer
TRACS, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR

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Notes to Editors:

Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) is organised by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS), taking place annually in autumn since 1989 and is one of the flagship events built on a culture of collaborative working with Festivals Edinburgh, sustaining and developing Edinburgh’s position as the world’s leading festival city.

Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (SCIO, SC043009) is a collaborative alliance designed to improve the knowledge, practice, development and advocacy of Scotland’s traditional arts in a contemporary world. TRACS brings together three forums: Scottish Storytelling Forum (SC020891), Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland (SC045085) and Traditional Music Forum (SC042867). Supported by Creative Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council.

Scottish Government Festivals Expo Fund was established in 2007 to:

  • help maintain our festivals’ global competitive edge
  • increase the funding available to Scottish artists and practitioners
  • encourage creative collaborations

The Fund has provided members of Festivals Edinburgh with more than £19 million to create a legacy of important new work and to promote Scottish artists internationally. Both funding and the assessment process are administered by Creative Scotland.

PLACE [Platforms for Creative Excellence] Programme is a unique three-way partnership between the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals. The programme will provide £15 million over the next five years for a range of creative and community projects, with an approach to evolving the future direction of the festivals through long-term developments and collaborations with global as well as Scottish partners. PLACE Programme, City of Edinburgh Council

The Anthology of Scottish Folk Tales is published by The History Press, ISBN 9780750992039.