Scottish International Storytelling Festival’s Community Programme to Hold National Story Exchange  

Scottish International Storytelling Festival
  • Schools encouraged to take part in a Story Exchange on Wednesday 27 November
  • Community groups and libraries encouraged to apply for subsidy to book professional storyteller for events


The SISF Community Programme is a creative outreach initiative that bookends and runs alongside the Scottish International Storytelling Festival; an annual celebration of live storytelling, traditional music, dance & cultural diversity that takes place each year at the end of October, organised by Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland (TRACS).

The Community Programme, ran by The Scottish Storytelling Forum, focuses on the local angle of the festival and encourages schools and communities to engage with storytelling by holding or attending a storytelling event that celebrates an over-arching theme.


Linking with Scotland’s ‘Year of Conversation 2019’, this year’s theme, Beyond Words highlights how storytelling can help us converse and connect. The theme encourages audiences to celebrate stories beyond the written word or page; offering an opportunity to interact with one of Scotland’s oldest traditional art forms in contemporary way.


Wednesday 27 November has been designated as a nation-wide Story Exchange and we are encouraging schools to dedicate an afternoon sharing oral tales beyond the words of their favourite books and to simply story-tell – eye to eye, heart to heart and mind to mind.


Classrooms are encouraged to switch-off for an hour, get outside if possible, or simply sit on the floor with their favourite fables. They may even wish to book a professional storyteller, from the Storytelling Directory to attend their storytelling afternoon.


Community groups, local charities and libraries are encouraged to take part by running a storytelling event in their community and can apply for an £80 subsidy towards the booking of a professional storyteller from the Scottish Storytelling Forum’s Directory of Storytellers.


Events can take place anytime between Mon 2 Sep – Mon 2 December, however a designated showcase day will take place alongside the Story Exchange on Wednesday 27 November and events are encouraged for this date.


Any community group wishing to check their eligibility for a subsidy should contact the National Storytelling Co-ordinator, Miriam Morris,


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


Telling and sharing stories is a magical way of finding common ground within diverse communities and building connections between storytellers and the community. Stories have the power to transcend age and circumstance and let us find new ways of connecting and conversing with each other.
Community only exists if we communicate, and the SISF Community Programme is a fabulous incentive to invite everyone into a local setting, connect with stories and engage in new conversations. To use traditional tale-telling to talk to each other in a time when we can often feel isolated or overwhelmed due to bombardment of news and media. It’s an opportunity to switch off from this and simply enjoy the spoken word and communicate.”


SISF and the SISF Community Programme has been supported by The PLACE Programme. The PLACE Programme is funded by the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals.

Free resources, promotional materials and a PR and Social Media Guide as well as information on storytelling booking rates and subsidies can be found online at:



National Storytelling Co-Ordinator, Miriam Morris says:


‘This is a great opportunity for schools and community groups to share and connect with stories in their own creative way. We have free resources with suggestions on how to take part but they’re not prescriptive – the main goal of the SISF Community Programme is for communities and schools to connect with the art of oral storytelling in a way that is engaging and accessible to them. We’re getting the info out there nice early for everyone to save the date and to encourage audiences across Scotland to get in touch with their storytelling event ideas, especially if we can help with a subsidy towards making this happen.”


Schools and community groups across Scotland to get in touch with the National Storytelling Co-Ordinator, Miriam Morris if they would like to hold an event or would like further information on how to book a storyteller or for any help with promotion event listings.  Please contact