STORYTELLERS and academics are to lead a day-long celebration of Scottish community traditions and folk magic at Edinburgh’s Scottish Storytelling Centre.

Titled Dreaming Bread and Skyrie Stanes, the symposium is hosted by the Taibhsear Collective who will use the day to launch their album, Tales Of The Taibhsear.

The collective, which is composed of Scots folklorist Scott Richardson-Read, acclaimed storyteller Amanda Edmiston and musician Debbie Armour, hopes to hold more events to help keep Scottish traditional stories and practices alive for present and future generations.

The day will feature workshops on traditional crafts and herbal use, mead-making and folk magic, and will include presentations by Dr Julian Goodacre, an expert on pre-Christian beliefs in Scotland; Dr Valentina Bold, whose work looks at Scots storytelling traditions, and storytellers Claire Hewitt and Jess Smith.

“Jess has been my mentor for the past 18 months,” says Edmiston, who notes Smith, Hewitt and her mother, the storyteller Jean Edmiston, are “the trinity” who have inspired her over her past nine years as an artist-storyteller.

Originally from Aberdeen, Edmiston draws on her background in herbal medicine to write and share stories exploring what plants can offer. As well as taking her stories for a residency in China earlier this year, much of Edmiston’s recent work has focused on Florence Marian McNeill, a folklorist born in Orkney in 1885. McNeill was a writer, community health advocate, prominent suffragette and a founder member of the SNP.

“She’s a bit forgotten,” Edmiston says of McNeill, who served as the party’s vice-president and wrote the landmark The Silver Bough: A Four-Volume Study of the National and Local Festivals of Scotland.

The centrepiece of the album is a tale of two women and their guardian, a Taibhsear – an older woman with second sight. Spoken in Gaelic and English, the story features vocals by Armour and music by Richardson-Read, who transcribed the trials of Katherine Craigie of Rousay, one of 68 people accused of witchcraft on Orkney in the 17th century. Craigie was strangled and burned after being tried for a second time in 1643.

“Near the end of the story there is a reference to the tunnel underneath St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall where those accused of witchcraft were imprisoned,” says Edmiston, who drew on the work of Richardson-Read and McNeill, as well as folk tales from Orkney and the north-east in writing the tale.

She continues: “The whole point of a spoken-word tradition, an oral tradition, is that it can change.

“I think that growing the stories, and allowing them to unfold and develop new life keeps them relevant. It keeps the sense of what these stories have always been in Scotland, which is a changing thing reflecting the real needs and the values of a society.”

November 11, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, 9.30am, from £25.