Why stories matter

Posted: 10 August 2022, in News

If there was ever a month where Scotland comes alive with the biggest concentration of new and old stories, it’s during Festival season. In Festival City alone, there’s the Edinburgh International Festival, Book Festival, Art Festival, Deaf Festival, Film Festival, and of course the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Scotland’s capital is positively brimming! 

Storytelling is an intrinsic part of Scottish-ness and life in Scotland – from folklore and oral histories, to literature, theatre, music and art – tales exist to enchant us, connect us, provoke us, support us and entertain us. The reason we have a national Scottish Storytelling Centre, running the Scottish International Storytelling Festival every October is because “stories and songs are vital for human survival. They carry our emotions, memories and values. They bind us together as families, communities and a nation, especially through tough times.”  

From an LGBTQ+ point of view, stories particularly matter, as they do for many marginalised communities. LGBTQ+ visibility in everyday life is still very limited, and especially in rural areas of Scotland and there are few opportunities for people to share their experiences widely. This is one of the many reasons we started Somewhere: For Us, our print and digital magazine, which became a lifeline during lockdown as LGBTQ+ people became even more isolated. Earlier this year, we launched the Somewhere: For Us podcast, capturing experiences in conversation and giving us an opportunity to focus more deeply on subjects raised in the print magazine.  

Having a positive platform to share experiences and showcase new ideas all year round, and not just during Festival season, is immensely important to LGBTQ+ people’s mental health, recovery and sense of belonging.  This can be for reasons of struggle as much as celebration, as stories tell us as much about ourselves as they do about others’ experiences. In the case of queer storytelling, relate-ability to characters and scenarios helps us to process our own life journey and make sense of a world that often does not accept us. 

Issue Eight of Somewhere_ForUs magazine

Year of Stories  

2022 sees Scotland’s official Year of Stories with over 180 community projects happening all over the nation to celebrate, and Somewhere, our organisation, is very proud to be one of those. Issue Eight of Somewhere: For Us magazine is a Year of Stories special, celebrating queer stories – old and new – with a special homage to bookshops, the places and spaces which hold our stories safe and dear. The beautiful cover art, created by Highlands-based artist Rob Matthews will be doing a wee tour throughout August, September and October, spreading the joy of queer storytelling around Scotland. 

So keep an eye out for the cover on its travels and make sure to check out our new magazine. By becoming a member, or donating funds, you can support us in our work and help us to continue to offer a vibrant and creative platform connecting up LGBTQ+ and ally people across Scotland.  

In the meantime while the Festival season is upon us, if you fancy checking out the nearly 200 LGBTQ+ shows and performances at this year’s Festival fringe, we have created a very special free Somewhere at the Fringe Guide for 2022, available via our Somewhere: For Us website for everyone to enjoy.  

Kathryn Pierce, co-Founder/co-Editor at Somewhere: For Us and Somewhere EDI CIC

Issue Eight of Somewhere_ForUs magazine publishes today – a special issue celebrating Scotland’s Year of Stories #YearofStories #SomewhereForUs

Somewhere: For Us magazine was co-founded and is co-edited by Kathryn Pierce and Thomas Anderson-Thatcher and is published by Somewhere EDI CIC. Visit their website for more information and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.