New project Map of Stories Memorialises Scotland’s Oral Tradition

Map of Stories is a unique multimedia celebration of Scotland’s rich oral storytelling heritage that is part of Scotland’s Year of Stories brought through a series of live events at the 2022 Scottish International Storytelling Festival and a brand new, interactive open-access website.

This new project, led by Edinburgh-based arts collective Transgressive North (TN), in partnership with the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF), will invite audiences both in-person and online to celebrate oral storytelling: one of Scotland’s most deeply rooted and yet underappreciated art forms.

Artistic director of Transgressive North Jamie Chambers, said “…It has been an enormous privilege for Transgressive North to be involved in a project that has allowed us to lose our bearings amidst the dizzying diversity of Scotland’s living oral traditions. We have emerged from our adventures with a map which – whilst inevitably partial and incomplete – we hope serves to give voice to the ongoing vitality and magic of Scotland’s living folk traditions.”

Map of Stories will explore the ways in which Scotland’s diverse oral storytelling traditions serve to voice a sense of place. Audiences will be able to explore this through a literal ‘map of stories’ as part of a new, open-access website featuring a curated selection of filmed performances from storytellers across the country, each pinned onto an interactive map. Filmed material of storytelling performances from some of Scotland’s leading oral storytellers will be additionally complimented by a curated selection of audio recordings from Tobar an Dualchais / Kist of Riches, of some of Scotland’s most iconic storytellers.

This new website will be complemented by a series of live ‘film ceilidh’ events, each one mixing aspects of filmed footage of Scotland’s distinctive landscapes with live storytelling performances from some of the country’s leading oral storytellers including Scots traveller Jess Smith, and Hebridean poet Ian Stephen. Each of the five events will take a specific regional focus upon five Scottish areas and explore the distinctive stories arising from a particular community and landscape. Each ‘film ceilidh’ will be performed twice: once as part of SISF’s Edinburgh programme, and once with SISF’s regional partners, at a local venue. Several of the film ceilidh events will also use cinema to conjure the presence of some of the most significant tradition bearers of Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions including Sheila Stewart MBE and Norman Maclean.

To find out more and to book tickets to the live Map of Stories Film Ceilidhs, visit sisf.org.uk/map-of-stories/

The full programme for SISF 2022 is available at sisf.org.uk.

Irene Brown

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