1. What is a story?

We’re not necessarily looking for fiction. A story can be anything you want, a memory, an article, an essay, and yes it can be a work of fiction.

It’s whatever you want to share with the community.

3. How do I tell a story?

A story isn’t like a regular story, we’ve created some features to help you get started with Valuing Culture.

They’ll help you structure your stories quickly, connect them with other stories (written by yourself or other Valuing Culture storytellers), as well as add interesting details to provide depth and context.

The main features of building a story are:

  • Texts
  • Items
  • Stuff
  • Tags
  • Comments

Step 1. Register with the site

To be a contributor you have to register with the site. The sign-up is very simple and just allows us to monitor Valuing Culture for any unreasonable behaviour. Please read our Terms and Conditions before you start your first story.

Go to the top menu and click Sign Up. You will be asked to create a user name and password and to give your email address to register.

After you register you can add more details to your profile, if you wish, including an Avatar image.

Step 2: Add a Text

Every story is made up of a series of texts - think of each one like a scene or even a verse. Your text can be as long or as short as you like.

Valuing Culture will help you put multiple sections of text together into a sequence that tells your story. If you write each bit of text so that it makes sense when read on its own, other members of the community will be able to quote your text and weave it into their own stories.

Step 3: Add Items

You can illustrate your text with items like videos, photos and sounds from other websites and also other Valuing Culture users.

You can upload images to Valuing Culture. Images can be up to 5MB in size.

Items you’ve uploaded to other sites, such as videos, can be added to a personal Stuff, so you can embed them in your stories and also allow others to use them too.

Currently, you can add:

  • Images - any URL ending with JPG, PNG or GIF, or photos from Flickr.
  • Videos - URLs for videos hosted on YouTube, TikTok or Vimeo.
  • Sound - URLs for music, sounds and other audio hosted on SoundCloud.

We’re working on adding new file types and services, but we thought we’d start with the most common formats and the most likely places where people are sharing their photos and videos.

Some social media channels do block their images from being used elsewhere, so bear that in mind.

(Valuing Culture also supports less common image formats, with URLs ending in JPEG, JPE, TIF, and TIFF).

Step 4: Add Tags

You can add tags such as people, places and times to enrich and describe a text as well as help others to find your stories and quote them in their own stories.

There are four kinds of tag:

  • Person - you can add a name and a picture of anyone who features in your stories.
  • Place - you can add places to your stories, along with a name and a picture. Places don’t have to be real, they can be fictional (“Narnia”) or even metaphorical (“Grandad’s car”).
  • Time - the period in which the text takes place - this can be a date, a year or even something less exact like “my childhood”.

Step 5: Linking stories together

Every text in every story has a Quote this text link next to it.

This allows you to include that text in your own stories. You can use this to link stories from other users as well as make connections between your own stories.

Now you’re ready to publish. How many of these labels and objects you add is up to you. Then you can just publish and your story will be available on the Valuing Culture website.


What is a Theme?

Themes are a headings under which several stories can be grouped. These might be stories all written by a collective of people (a slimming club or a sports team) or stories that have a shared theme such as stories about the same place (a workplace or a town) or event (a celebration or a disaster).

You can create your own theme and add stories to it by clicking on Themes in the top menu. Click Add A New Theme. Give it a title and add some details and click Save and Add Stories.

Only the owner of a Theme can add stories to it.

What is the Stuff?

Every time you add an item to a story, it is also added to your Stuff. The Stuff is a collection of all the items you and other storytellers have added to Valuing Culture.

You can add items to the stuff while you’re writing texts for your story. Or you can add some items directly to your stuff before you’ve even starting writing stories.

This is a great way of collecting material together before you know how you want to organise it into a story.

What is a Comment?

Comments allow other users to leave comments on a particular text of your story. You can also use comments as “footnotes” to add context or references to your stories.

You can turn the Comments feature on or off for every story, from the Story Settings page.

Why can’t I upload my own videos?

We want you to be able to reuse the photos, videos and sounds you’ve already uploaded elsewhere and get stuck into telling stories with Valuing Culture.

We also wanted to encourage storytellers to use what’s openly available on the web and arrange them into compelling and interesting stories.

By taking those small pieces of the web and orchestrating them into stories, you can use the best of what’s out there, your own items, as well as ensuring you don’t fall afoul of copyright laws.

What is a URL?

A URL a way to know where something is on the web and most commonly referred to as a “web address” or “link”. Here are some examples of URLs:

  • A YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1ZB_rGFyeU
  • A JPEG image - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e0/Weaving-Bhutan-03_(detail).JPG/1200px-Weaving-Bhutan-03_(detail).JPG

Can I decide who can see my stories?

You have a number of options are available from the Story Settings page; every story you write can be set to be either:

  • Visible only to you.
  • Visible only to other Valuing Culture storytellers with whom you share the story’s URL but will not appear in search results.
  • Visible to everyone that uses Valuing Culture, and will also appear in search results.

Reporting abuse

Every Text and Item includes a Report link, which you can click to report any abusive content. When you report an offensive item or passage, we’ll ask you to briefly describe the issue before submitting the report.

We’ll investigate your concerns and, if necessary, remove the offending item or text.

Users found to be breaking the Terms and Conditions will have their accounts closed.