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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 30/11/2022

We’re highlighting the ways that Scotland’s tourism industry and other businesses engaged with the Themed Year. 

In this case study, we look at some of the organisations who used Year of Stories as a hook for their own campaign activity or to create new content.

Historic Environment Scotland

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) showcased their sites and the stories behind them. HES created a dedicated landing page for their activity as well as a showcase video featuring staff members at some of their iconic venues. New content created on their website included blogs and stories from staff and a new book called ‘Stirling Castle for Kids’ was produced. A competition called ‘If These Walls Could Talk’ encouraged young storytellers to write Scottish tales featuring historic sites. This had prizes to be won and the stories showcased online on the HES website. A touring exhibition, Unforgettable, started the year at Blackness Castle. It shared untold stories of 12 people from Scotland’s history. You can read about the exhibition on the HES website. In November, an after-hours event ‘Tales from the Castle’ took place across two evenings.

Historic Environment Scotland - Year of Stories 2022

Scotland Food & Drink

Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight took inspiration from Year of Stories 2022 with the ‘Stories to Savour’ campaign which you can read about on its website. They showcased some of Scotland’s most exciting products, innovative producers and regions. They  told the stories of the country’s world-class food and drink industry. Organisers Scotland Food & Drink used the #StoriesToSavour hashtag to encourage sharing on social.

Dig It!

Dig It!, the hub for Scottish archaeology coordinated by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, showcased some great stories to come out of archaeology. They created a dedicated web page to host Year of Stories blogs, which covered all sorts of subjects ranging from ‘Sword-wielding women and Scottish archaeology’ to ‘Seven times Scottish archaeology was written into books’. They collaborated on the ‘Forgotten Stories’ project with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. The film and documentary series with additional articles aims to bring the stories of near-forgotten archaeologists back to life.

Stirling XP

In November 2022 it was announced that Stirling will become the first fully Augmented Reality (AR) city in the world. This followed a ground-breaking project involving Stirling Council, BT and Seymour Powell. The cutting edge software will transform the visitor experience to Stirling.  It will allow people to explore the city in a unique and exciting way through their smartphone screen. The new Stirling XP app will bring the city’s history and heritage to life. Recognising the alignment with the Themed Year, Stirling Council highlighted Year of Stories 2022 on their website. They encouraged people to “experience a whole new way of telling stories”.

West Highland Way

The West Highland Way launched a new project in 2022 - People, Place & Passion: Gaelic Stories on the West Highland Way which can be viewed on their website, supported by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. The online resource includes videos, history and poetry, as well as insight into 96 Gaelic place names along the West Highland Way – one for each mile.

Hillwalkers on the West Highland Way look toward Buachaille Etive Mor
Hillwalkers on the West Highland Way look toward Buachaille Etive Mor
Image credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Keep Scotland Beautiful

Keep Scotland Beautiful have supported Themed Years in the past and 2022 was no exception. The Year of Stories was one of the categories for their popular annual Pocket Garden competition which you can read about on their website. It invites young people to create designs for an environmentally friendly, pocket-sized garden. Pupils who send in the winning designs are then invited to build and grow their gardens to display. Keep Scotland Beautiful took Year of Stories as the theme for an online event in the Scotland’s Climate Festival National Events Series. The ‘Storytelling for Change’ event took inspiration from the ‘Inspired by Nature’ programme strand.

Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre

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 local Orcadian Islanders. They shared their social traditions, folklore, legends and work customs passed down from one generation to the next.

Hostelling Scotland

Hostelling Scotland created a video inspired by the  insightful diaries written by 17-year-old Mary Harvie in the summer of 1936. The film, ‘What would Mary do?’, was produced with the Adventure Syndicate. This group of female adventurers promote mental and physical wellbeing. Their 300 mile trip showcased Scotland’s remote landscapes and natural heritage. The film was promoted at in-person screenings, on social media and through widespread media coverage.

Hostelling Scotland - What would Mary do?

National Records of Scotland

Women authors were the focus of activity by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) during the Themed Year. NRS published an article on three Scottish authors, Annie Shepherd Swan, Josephine Tey and Dorothy Dunnett. This marked International Women’s Day and Women’s History month. NRS also published two new entries on the Hall of Fame for Susan Edmonstone Ferrier (1782-1854), novelist, and Nan Shepherd (1893-1981), author and college teacher. NRS also made a successful submission to the Scottish Council on Archives ‘Twenty Treasures’ initiative. ‘Scotland’s Stories’ was the theme for submissions. 

Scottish Library and Information Council

SLIC, the Scottish Library and Information Council, ran a wide range of initiatives  throughout the year.  Many individual libraries hosted their own events and projects. SLIC  ran the ‘Keep the Heid and Read!’ campaign which you can read about on the SLIC website. It asked people to pledge six minutes devoted to reading and included a book giveaway to celebrate Year of Stories. The campaign was a success, celebrating the power of reading, libraries and good mental health. More than 470,000 minutes of reading were pledged by members of the public.

Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) used Year of Stories when planning their ReSourcE magazine for summer 2022. They used the campaign logo on the publication and also linked to the Year of Stories landing page in the RSE President’s introduction column. They explained that the RSE’s Fellowship and the Young Academy of Scotland harbour a rich heritage of stories across countless disciplines. The magazine offered a window into this resource. Features included Hebridean singer, Julie Fowlis, looking at how Gaelic is woven into the fabric of Scotland.  James Robertson lookied at the magical and unique mid-20th century home of Scottish poet, Hugh MacDiarmid. The RSE also signed up their August series of summer events – Curious 2022 – to the Year of Stories Partner Events Programme.

National Records of Scotland - New Register House, Edinburgh
National Records of Scotland - New Register House, Edinburgh
Image credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

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