Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2023 – Open Call for Creative Proposals

Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2023

Right To Be Human

– Open Call for New and Existing Work –

The Scottish International Storytelling Festival (SISF) 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our theme ‘Right To Be Human’ celebrates and explores all aspects of our common humanity.

In a changing and challenging world, human rights themselves are threatened by myriads of factors: political and economic oppression, war and environmental degradation; but also gender inequality, censorship, ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious prejudice.

SISF 2023 invites creatives within the wider storytelling and creative community to move beyond these conflicts, and to join the Festival’s creative process by submitting a proposal on the theme ‘Right To Be Human’.

What we are looking for:

Existing storytelling performances, or new work which explores and affirms the ‘Right To Be Human’ theme, to be showcased at SISF between Tue 17 – Sun 29 October 2023 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh or another festival venue.

  • Proposals can include existing performances or work that still needs to be developed.
  • Proposals must have a lead artist/producer who will be responsible for the full delivery of the show and for collaborating with the SISF team, providing all necessary admin and marketing information within the SISF timeframe.
  • Proposals may involve one or more artists, last approximately one hour and have a clear sense of their audience. At least one performer must be a storyteller, either in a traditional or contemporary style. Proposals may relate to people of all ages and abilities. They may involve venues other than the Scottish Storytelling Centre.
  • Proposals should be accompanied by an indicative budget, covering artists’ fees (highlighting any research, rehearsal and performance costs), production costs and other relevant expenses. If the proposal is successful SISF will work with the lead artist to establish an accurate and viable agreed budget.
  • We welcome proposals which celebrate and showcase artistic and thematic diversity and proposals from creatives not previously engaged with SISF.
  • We welcome proposals featuring a creative approach to Gaelic, Scots, BSL, or other minority languages in Scotland.
  • We welcome proposals that are environmentally sustainable in their practice.



The lead applicant must be an artist living and working in Scotland. At least one performer must be a storyteller, either in a traditional or contemporary style.

Selection process:

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

  • Artistic excellence
  • Celebration of oral storytelling
  • Consideration of diversity and inclusiveness
  • Viability, cost-effectiveness and environmental impact
  • Achievable within the timeframe

The panel assessment will result in the selection of up to ten proposals, including existing performances and new productions.

How to apply:

We have tried to keep this application process as simple as possible, please follow these steps:

  1. Fully complete the separate application form, with particular attention to the provisional budget.
  2. Email the form to [email protected], titling the document as ‘SISF 2023 Proposal *Your Name*’. Please also put the same title in the subject line of the email.


The deadline is 5pm on 25th April 2023

If you have any questions about this application or need access support, please contact [email protected], or call 0131 556 9579. We can provide any required support to make this process as accessible as possible.

Next step:

Successful proposals will be showcased at the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2023 (Tuesday 17 – Sunday 29 October).

It is expected that all unsuccessful proposals will receive appropriate feedback from the selection panel if desired.


Open Call Application Information

Application Form