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Visit Scotland | Alba

What you need to know

Background to Scotland’s Themed Years

Scotland’s Themed Years have been running since 2009 as a way to celebrate a particular side to Scotland that deserves recognition. Some past examples of our celebratory years include the Year of Young People 2018, the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017 and the Year of Innovation Architecture and Design 2016. Following an industry consultation in 2016, Themed Years now take place biennially.

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 (YCW20/21)

In 2020 we began celebrating the Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, and in light of the impact of COVID-19, this Themed Year has been extended across 2021. The funded events programme for YCW20/21 was announced in November 2019 and our funded partners continue to develop reshaped event plans to be presented across the 2021. Our YCW20/21 toolkit includes free to use logos, imagery and ideas on how to align with the current Themed Year across 2021. Events that align with the theme can also sign up to our Partner Events Programme.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 (YS22)

2022 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Stories. This will be a year in which stories inspired by, created, or written in Scotland will be showcased and celebrated.

The love of stories is hardwired into us all; it is one of the strongest ways we connect with one another and share our experiences. Great stories, well told, can evoke indelible images in our minds and bring contemporary and traditional cultures to life. Every culture has its stories to tell, and Scotland has a particularly rich heritage of stories and storytelling to spotlight and celebrate. These include our local tales, oral traditions, great stories told in books or on screen – all inspired by our country, our culture and reflected back by many diverse voices and across the widest range of forms. Stories are vital to every part of Scotland. Every community has its own tales to tell, places to highlight as inspiration for well-known books and films, visitor attractions that showcase our literary and storytelling heritage and all kinds of places and spaces where stories, old and new, can be enjoyed.

Scotland’s stories reflect who we are and shape how others see us. 2022 gives us the opportunity to work in partnership to further harness this powerful means to engage and thereby inspire locals and visitors to discover, celebrate and share their own stories of Scotland.

A programme of activity will be designed and delivered in celebration of the Themed Year to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors. The Year of Stories funded events programme will be central to the overall programme of activity delivered as part of the Themed Year.

The Year of Stories 2022 Open Events Fund

The YS22 Open Events Fund has been designed to support new, creative event proposals and programming that will provide high profile content created especially in response to the 2022 Themed Year opportunity.

We are seeking event proposals that will capture the imagination and help us to tell and to celebrate Scotland’s wealth of unique stories. Successful proposals must provide strong engagement opportunities that create key moments across the year capable of driving high levels of media coverage, audience awareness and attendance. Both brand new and one-off events as well as high profile new programme strands created to provide additionality within existing events or festivals specifically for the Themed Year are eligible.

A total fund value of £600,000 is available for eligible events planned to take place across 2022. Organisers may apply for individual grants of between £15,000 - £60,000. The deadline for all applications is Thursday 12 August 2021.

  • Events must take place in Scotland in 2022, be public facing and attractive to visitors and locals alike.
  • Plans must resonate strongly with the aims and objectives of the year as outlined in the Information for Applicants guidance document and bring to life one or more of the five programme strands.
  • Applications will be considered from both brand new and one-off events as well as from existing events and festivals creating new high-profile programming especially for the Themed Year.
  • Proposals must clearly articulate responsible tourism and sustainable development principles, including how the event will manage economic, social, and environmental impacts and maximise positive outcomes.
  • To support resilience of the programme, applicants will be asked to include details of their approach to Covid-19 risk management and detail contingency planning, i.e. digital or virtual programming or dispersed, community based activities, as part of their proposal.
  • A balanced and achievable event budget showing other income sources, including where possible funding contributions from other partners, should be presented. Stronger applications will demonstrate confirmed, or good potential for, partner support.
  • Only new, creative proposals for events activity can be supported through this fund. If you are an existing event, please note that this fund cannot be used to support core activity.

The Application Process

Applications will be assessed on their own merit covering their relevance and fit with the programme, viability of the proposal, evidence of sustainable development principles and it’s impacts aligned to the National Events Strategy (Scotland, the Perfect Stage). All applications will then be brought to panel where proposals will be considered competitively in the context of the overall programme.

Please note that it is not expected that applicants will hear the outcome of their application before October 2021 and this timeline should be considered in planning and budget forecasting.

A non-funded opportunity, the Year of Stories 2022 Partner Events Programme, will open in late 2021, providing a chance to benefit from the Themed Years platform for free whilst helping to promote Scotland in partnership. The Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 Partner Events Programme is currently open for applications.

Contact us

If you are interested in applying for funding for an events proposal for Year of Scotland's Stories 2022, please follow the guidance in the 'How to apply' section and complete the online enquiry form in the first instance.

If you are unable to complete the form, or require additional support, you can also send us an email. Please remember to include your contact details and some basic event info and a member of the team will be in touch

Deadline for application

12 August 2021

Follow the steps below to apply for funding.

Download guidance and documents

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How to apply

  1. 1

    Read the Information for Applicants document

    Download and read the information document provided.

    Information for Applicants | Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

    Published June 2021

  2. 2

    Submit an online enquiry

    Complete and submit the online enquiry form and after a short eligibility check, a member of the EventScotland team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. Where appropriate an Application Form will be issued.

  3. 3

    Talk to the team and request an Application Form

    Once your online enquiry has been received, application forms will be issued following discussion with a member of the team. A sample application form is available in this section for reference.

    When preparing your final application, please ensure you include any relevant supplementary documents as required. Refer to the Application Form Checklist, which is included at the end of the form, to be sure you have included all essential documents.

    Please note: this download is a sample of the final application form and has been made available for reference only. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO COMPLETE THIS FORM.

    SAMPLE Application Form | Scotland's Year of Stories 2022

    Published June 2021

  4. 4

    Submit your Application Form

    Submit your Application Form to

    Application Forms should be submitted by email and in Word format. We are not currently operating from our office therefore hard copy submissions are not encouraged. Once submitted, you will receive an email acknowledging receipt of your application.