Stories are vital to every part of Scotland. Our stories reflect who we are and shape how others see us.
The Year of Stories 2022 will provide businesses and organisations with opportunities to engage and inspire locals and visitors to discover, celebrate and share their own stories of Scotland.
In this digital toolkit you will find information on:
- About the Year of Stories 2022
- Key themes
- Year of Stories 2022 industry webinar
- How to get involved
- Top tips
- Other resources
About the Year of Stories 2022
Themed Years showcase the very best of Scotland; its product, its places and its people. You’ll find a packed programme of events and activity taking place throughout each celebratory year as well as lots of opportunities to get involved, whether you're a visitor, a business or an organisation.
Scotland’s Year of Stories will spotlight, celebrate and promote the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. The year will encourage locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present. It will contribute to recovery from the pandemic and inspire new stories of Scotland to be shared.
Year of Stories 2022 – scope of the year
The year is designed to be inclusive and diverse, embracing the widest range of activity and content. Partner’s activity can reflect one or all of the five programme strands:
Iconic stories and storytellers
Across literature, screen and entertainment, the Year of Stories will celebrate and showcase Scotland’s wealth of treasured and iconic stories and storytellers from classics to contemporary.
We want to shout about Scotland’s new and untold stories. The Year of Stories will shine a light on emerging, fresh and forward-looking talent and highlight the innovators that break boundaries across all forms of storytelling.
Scotland's people and places
Our people and places have inspired the widest range of stories and storytellers across the world. The year will promote how Scotland’s diverse culture, languages, landscapes and ways of life – urban and rural – provide a source for all types and forms of stories, encouraging visitors and audiences to find out more.
Local tales and legends
Every community has its distinct tales to tell; stories of now as well as those passed through the generations. These are the stories we tell ourselves and share with others to make sense of time and place. The Year of Stories will provide the opportunity for every part of Scotland to tell its story.
Inspired by nature
Our encounters with nature are an unfailing source of stories old and new. Whether by the sea or land, along rivers or through woods, in city or country, we discover stories of birds, insects, animals and plants. These stories define our place in the natural world and help to create a more sustainable future for Scotland, as well as a greener planet.
Year of Stories 2022 industry webinar
Over 300 people signed up to our Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 industry webinar, which took place on the afternoon of Thursday 9 September. During the webinar we heard from a number of VisitScotland speakers on how to get involved in the Themed Year, funding opportunities, how to make the most of Scotland's powerful film and literary connections, and key takeaways from our Year of Stories 2022 Insights Paper.
Watch the webinar
You asked, we answered
A number of questions were submitted during the Q&A session on the webinar. You can read the answers to those questions which included topics such as funding and marketing.
Do you have a story to tell?
Download the logo
Let people know you’re proud to be taking part in the Themed Year! From websites to social media, email signatures to flyers, use the official free-to-use ‘Supporting Year of Stories 2022’ logo across your own promotions. It’s a great way to showcase your activities and inspire potential visitors. You can access the brand guidelines and directly download the logo by completing our online form.
Visuals speak volumes
Whether it's the city streets and rural hideaways where some of Scotland’s most famous novels are set, or the dramatic settings that act as backdrops to classic films and TV series, images of Scotland can really help to tell a story. We have a specially curated collection of free images for use across your own channels to inspire visitors. To access them simply register for our Digital Media Library and search "Year of Stories 2022".
We’ve also compiled a short list of location examples to provide some inspiration, which you can view by downloading our story locations pdf. Why not look into the places near you with a literary or screen connection and see what opportunities they could offer in relation to the Themed Year.
Social media is the latest form of storytelling and it’s a great way to share your stories, join the conversation and reach new audiences. Whether your preferred channel is Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, don’t forget to use our Year of Stories campaign hashtags on your posts to help people find your content: #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland. If you’d like to build your online expertise, we’ve got lots of advice available. Find out more about how you can improve your digital skills.
Creating a web listing on VisitScotland.com for your business allows you to connect with visitors across the globe – the site has 23 million visits per year and is translated into six languages. If you don't currently have a VisitScotland.com web listing, you can apply for one for free in our global website section. It’s a great idea to update your listing with any Themed Year activity you have planned.
We also have a dedicated listings system for tour operators which you can sign up to for free. If you have a special tour that aligns well with the year, make sure you add the ‘Year of Stories 2022’ category for your listing so that we can pull out and promote these activities in our campaign activity.
Year of Stories 2022 events
The delivery of an exciting programme of special events is an important part of each Themed Year. The Year of Stories Open Events programme aims to capture the imagination and help us to tell and to celebrate Scotland’s wealth of unique stories. It is due to be announced in December 2021.
The Open Events programme will be complemented by the Community Stories programme that will spotlight the unique stories that matter to Scotland’s local communities. The fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players. Applications for the first round of funding close on 1 October 2021 and a second round of funding will open 24 January 2022.
The Year of Stories 2022 Partner Events Programme is open for applications. This is a free, non-funded opportunity to align your event with the theme and benefit from potential inclusion in our promotional activity.
Celebrate your local distinctiveness
Visitors want to discover authentic experiences and hidden gems – can you share knowledge on local legends, folk tales or lesser-known stories to celebrate the year? Why not take inspiration from local tour guides? You can find tour listings on the VisitScotland website or enjoy our Tour Guide Tales podcast to hear storytellers recount their favourite tales and personal experiences.
Get to know Scotland’s writers and literature
Many visitors want to find out more about our stories and legends or walk in the footsteps of a literary hero. Why not learn more about the writers and stories, literary visitor attractions, festivals and bookshops in your area? Check out our Scottish Writers and Literature resource, which has a host of information, from myths and legends to literary attractions, literary tours and must-read book recommendations.
Lights, camera, action
Scotland has long provided the backdrop and inspiration for filmmakers, from Outlander to The Crown and James Bond to the Avengers. Find out more about film and TV locations near you, so that you can share these with visitors. Our Film & TV in Scotland resource includes itineraries, maps and an e-book which explores films by region.
The power of partnerships
Are there local businesses or organisations you could explore working with to create new experiences, itineraries or products in celebration of the year to inspire visitors and locals? Think about how you might be able to work together to target new markets and expand your reach.
Share your unique story
Every business and organisation has a story to tell. Take a look at your organisation’s history, location, people and product and think about how best to share that story with potential visitors in a way that will surprise and engage them. Explore the Only in Scotland marketing proposition as a starting point to understanding the emotional drivers for visitors and consider the stories that make you stand out.
Events and training
Every business wants to know that it’s at the top of its game, and with the ever-evolving landscape of the tourism industry there needs to be continuous learning and development in order to stay relevant. Take a look at the latest events and training opportunities on offer from VisitScotland, many of which are free to attend.
Real life case studies
See how others have used the platform provided by a Themed Year to successfully create a new product or campaign. For inspiration, you can find a wide range of case studies on our Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 toolkit page.
Get to know your market
We have up-to-date insights on key factors such as why people are attracted to Scotland as a destination, what they expect from a holiday here and specific information on domestic and international markets. Take a look at this useful intel and start thinking about how it might influence the way you tell your story and attract visitors.
Access, inclusion and diversity
The Year of Stories 2022 will celebrate the broadest range of visitor experiences in relation to the theme, with a focus on unique, authentic experiences, sustainable tourism and place. It will also seek to include and promote a diversity of voices. It's important to consider the accessibility of the stories that you tell and the forms in which you communicate. Take a look at our Inclusive Tourism toolkit to discover advice and support for inclusive practices and check out our Gaelic toolkit to discover how you can use the language and its culture to create a more immersive visitor experience.
Don’t miss out on news about Year of Stories 2022. Follow us on Twitter @visitscotland, @visitscotnews, @eventscotnews and across our Facebook and Instagram channels. You can also sign up for our VisitScotland and EventScotland enewsletters, and don’t forget to check back here as this toolkit will be regularly updated.
The year officially starts on 1 January 2022 and will run until 31 December 2022. Our events programme will run across 2022, however, the VisitScotland marketing activity and pre-promotion will start towards the end of 2021 to maximise the opportunities.
The Year of Stories will contribute towards the recovery from the pandemic by providing a collaborative platform to help promote your business, product and experiences.
There are a range of ways to get involved, including practical tips and assets in our industry marketing toolkit. Telling authentic stories to visitors (essentially becoming a storyteller yourself) is a great way to engage with the Year of Stories as well as providing visitors and locals with a quality experience.
- Download the free to use logo and use on your website or printed material.
- Think about how you can use the Year of Stories platform to attract visitors to your business and area – our industry toolkit provides some top tips.
- Consider how you can reach and engage with audiences through emotional appeal via your own social channels using the dedicated Themed Year hashtags #YS2022 and #TalesofScotland.
Yes, the opportunity is available for all businesses and organisations to get involved – both large and small. For inspiration why not look at our Year of Coasts and Waters case studies as there are some great examples of how individual businesses have engaged with the year across 2020 and 2021.
Our Open Events Funding Programme is now closed. Events funding is still available through our Community Stories Fund for organisations and groups working with communities. Find out more about the fund on the Museums Galleries Scotland website. The fund will support organisations and community groups to take part in and celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories, spotlighting the unique stories that matter to them with new, creative events, activities and programming. The deadline for applications for the first round of funding is 5pm on 1 October 2021. A second funding round will open for applications from 24 January 2022 with a deadline for applications to be submitted by 5pm on 18 March 2022.
The theme is yet to be announced. Watch this space!