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The ‘positive and lasting impact’ of Scotland’s 2022 Year of Stories

Scotland’s Year of Stories, 2022, was a great success in Orkney and across Scotland as a whole. A total of 354 funded and partner events took place across all 32 local authority areas including seven events in Orkney. 

Cheryl Chapman, VisitScotland Development Manager said:

“Themed Years provide an opportunity for collaboration and partnership across tourism, events and wider sectors, using Scotland’s strengths to attract domestic and international visitors and grow the visitor economy.  

“The findings of this evaluation show that the Year of Stories really engaged communities right across Orkney. While the year may have ended, the story is far from over. Our hope is that businesses and events continue sharing their stories and visitors continue to be inspired by the places, people and cultures associated with them.”

The funded events programmes, with support from Museums Galleries Scotland and National Lottery Heritage Fund, invested a total of £1.33 million in the sector, shining a spotlight on well-loved and brand new stories alike. The widest range of organisations from national companies to community groups participated. 

In Orkney there were five funded and two partner events.

The Map of Stories: Voicing Scotland’s Landscapes, took place 30th October at Stromness Town Hall. The project was delivered in partnership between Transgressive North and Scottish International Storytelling Festival and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS).

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland, said:

“The diversity of stories and how they were shared was a particular feature of the Year of Stories due to the Community Stories Programme, which was supported through funding from National Lottery players. It really engaged with the imagination of individuals, communities and groups, allowing them to share their stories, their way – stories of Scotland’s people, places and cultures.”

The Community Stories Programme, was a partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund and Scottish Government. 

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said:

“The Year of Stories Community Stories Fund created a powerful opportunity to support a wide range of people to take part in the themed year and we are proud to have delivered this in partnership with VisitScotland, with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government. The fund supported creativity with new and old stories brought to life allowing locals and visitors to experience a wide diversity of voices.”

 Events in Orkney included:

  • Launch of the George Mackay Brown Trail in Stromness (Orkney Arts Society)
  • Orkney, Scotland and Norway: Stories in music and verse (University of the Highlands and Islands)
  • Sanday Stories – a celebration of Sanday’s folklore and its folklorist, Walter Traill Dennison (Sanday Development Trust)
  • Orcadian Stories (Orkney News Ltd). 

All the short films made for Orcadian Stories can be viewed free on The Orkney News YouTube Channel.

Orcadian Stories’ is a series of short filmed interviews of people who have played a part in creating a cultural legacy for the islands. All the individuals filmed have contributed to the local community through their work which may be for art, music, film, communications, tradition, mental health, and wellbeing.

NorthLink Ferries introduced a wide range of activities for the year, including a short story competition, online content, a children’s activity sheet and ‘share your story’ postcards for passengers.

Orkney Marketing made the most of the Year of Stories creating a new Discover Orkney’s Stories hero film which portrays the importance of storytelling to the island and entices visitors to gather round the imaginary hearth to find out more.  

Storyteller Lynn Barbour of the Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre produced a series of podcasts and used the Year of Stories logo to help promote them. The Storytelling Landscape podcasts featured Orcadian Islanders, sharing their social traditions, folklore, legends and work customs passed down from one generation to the next. 

Click on this link to access the Scotland Year of Stories 2023 Evaluation Report

Culture Minister in the Scottish Government Christina McKelvie said:

“I am delighted that Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 has had such a positive and lasting impact in so many communities across Scotland. As a result of partnership working, the fantastic range of events on offer inspired people to create and share their own incredible stories, traditions and journeys.  

“The high level of engagement with this themed year will leave a lasting legacy as we continue to tell each other stories about who we are and where we live.”

Here at The Orkney News we hope to have some exciting updates this year about the series of films ‘Orcadian Stories’.

Fiona Grahame

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