Open Call for Creative Proposals

Imagine something different. Imagine pasts, futures, or a timeless other. Dip into dreams and desires, old and new, lost worlds and worlds still to become. Imagine from the outside in, and the inside out. What would a different world look like in your dreams? We’re eager to know!

SISF 2021 extends an invitation to storytellers, based or working in Scotland, to join the Festival’s creative process by submitting a proposal on the theme of Imagine. The Festival team is fully opening this process for the first time in the spirit of co-creation, to build back better and stronger, whilst feeding the roots of storytelling traditions in artistic communities across Scotland.


  • A creative proposal for a storytelling performance on the theme of Imagine, to be showcased at the SISF in October 2021, either live in Edinburgh at the Scottish Storytelling Centre (subject to Scottish Government guidelines), or digitally online.
  • A clear indication of whether the work can be presented live, or online, or both, and whether it would be suitable for adults, children, or both.
  • An overall budget between £1,000 – £4,000 will be available for up to 10 projects. A comprehensive budget is not required at this stage, but an outline of projected costs is requested. It is suggested that the project budget could cover artist fees and expenses for research, rehearsal and performance, with some additional production costs being met separately by SISF, including any access requirements.
  • We have tried to keep this application process as simple as possible.



  • The invitation is for storytellers based or working in Scotland.
  • The lead artist must be a storyteller either in a traditional or contemporary style.
  • We welcome creative partnerships between storytelling and other art forms, as well as international collaborations, if possible within current guidelines.
  • We welcome proposals which celebrate and showcase artistic and thematic diversity and proposals from creatives not previously engaged with SISF.


Selection process:

Submissions will be assessed by a panel comprising the SISF creative team and two guest curators to ensure openness and diversity. All proposals will be given careful consideration and will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and imagination
  • Celebration of oral storytelling
  • Consideration of diversity and inclusiveness
  • Achievable within the financial parameters
  • Achievable within the timeframe


How to apply:

The deadline is 5pm (BST) on Tuesday 25 May 2021. Please fully complete the separate application form and email it to [email protected], titling the document as ‘SISF 2021 – Creative Proposal – *Your Name*’. Please also put the same title in the subject line of the email.

If you have any questions about this application or you need access support, please contact [email protected]. We will provide BSL, captions, or anything else requested for access purposes for this process.

Download Application Form

Download Open Call PDF

Next step:

Successful proposals will be notified the week commencing Monday 7 June and developed into live and/or digital productions to be premiered during the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2021 (Friday 15Sunday 31 October). It is expected that all unsuccessful proposals will receive appropriate feedback from the selection panel if desired.

The SISF 2021 Open Call for Creative Proposals is supported by the Scottish Government Expo Fund 2021-2022