Map of Stories (mapofstories.scot) is a unique, multimedia website developed as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories, which allows audiences across Scotland and beyond to explore the rich diversity of Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions.
The website is completely open-access and free to use, and features a literal map of Scotland, onto which have been placed a series of newly-commissioned recordings for audiences to explore featuring some of the ancient myths, local histories, contemporary yarns and community folk tales that comprise Scotland’s dynamic, living culture of oral storytelling.
The website is produced by Edinburgh-based artistic collective Transgressive North in partnership with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) and Rectangle Design, and is supported Edinburgh Futures Institute (University of Edinburgh) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UKRI).
The website currently features 76 recordings (62 filmed recordings created specially for the website, and 14 audio-only recordings specifically selected from the Tobar an Dualchais collection), with more recordings to follow in 2023.
The map explores the deep connection between Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions and the specific landscapes, communities and locations across the country from which they emerge. Audiences can choose whether to view recordings pegged to the locations in which each storyteller is based, or – alternatively – where each story is said to have taken place, whether this is the sinister mermaid who haunted Knockdolian castle, the mischievous fairies of Tomnahurich in Inverness, or the final hours of Rob Roy McGregor in Balqhuidder.
Whilst claiming neither to be exhaustive nor complete, the magical selection of stories featured on Map of Stories draws from the rich diversity of Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions across the country – from Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides, all the way down to the Scottish Borders – and includes stories in Gaelic (with English language subtitles), Scots and Doric; stories from Scotland’s traveller and outer island communities; as well as stories from the increasingly diverse group of heritages – from India, Kenya, Iran, England and Wales – that comprise Scotland as a 21st-century, cosmopolitan nation.
Map of Stories will launch officially at the end Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022, a rich year of cultural activity across Scotland, which has seen organisations and communities nationwide collaborating to showcase the very best of Scotland’s storytelling. In particular, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival enjoyed a highly successful 2022 edition, with a record 240 events across Scotland. While community events are continuing into December, indications are that the Festival has recovered to 2019 levels of attendance.
To celebrate and complement the launch of the Map of Stories site, a series of 5 specially curated and produced ‘film ceilidh’ events, supported by EventScotland as part of the Year of Stories 2022, will be made available to stream. Performed at the 2022 Scottish International Storytelling Festival, and featuring storytellers and stories from the site, as well as newly commissioned film footage from award-winning Scottish filmmaker Jamie Chambers, these five pre-recorded events premiere on Friday 16th December at the following link:
Full details of each of the five events is below.
Map of Stories represents a rich and lasting legacy for Scotland’s Year of Stories, opening up new access for audiences both at home and abroad to explore the diversity of Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions.
Listing information for live Map of Stories Film Ceilidhs recordings from SISF that will be available to stream
Map of Stories Film Ceilidh: Galloway
Led by storyteller and poet Tom Pow, with music from Wendy Stewart.
Map of Stories Film Ceilidh: North-East
Led by storytellers Grace Banks and Jackie Ross, and featuring footage of Scots traveller Tony Robertson as part of a celebration of Tony’s father, Stanley Robertson, and his connection to the Old Road at Lumphanan.
Map of Stories Film Ceilidh: Orkney
Led by Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir, and featuring the landscapes of Deerness.
Map of Stories Film Ceilidh: Outer Hebrides
Led by Hebridean storyteller and poet Ian Stephen with music from Edinburgh-based piper Allan MacDonald, and featuring footage of the Gaelic bard Norman Maclean
Map of Stories Film Ceilidh: Perthshire
Led by Scottish traveller singer and storyteller Jess Smith, and featuring footage of the great Scottish traveller storyteller Sheila Stewart MBE.