Steve Byrne will tak oer as the Director o TRACS in March (photograph by Neil Hanna)

TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) announced on Monday 11th January that they hiv appointed Steve Byrne as their new Director.

A noted performer, researcher, folklorist, community activist an Scots Radio contributor, Steve will tak up his appointment fae March 2023.

He will continue the work o TRACS an its three forums for traditional music, storytelling, an traditional dance, while developing an showcasing Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

New Director of TRACS, Steve Byrne said: “I am absolutely delighted to be appointed to lead an organisation that I consider to be key to the future of traditional arts in Scotland.”

“I am looking forward to working with the TRACS team and communities across the country in celebrating our local cultures in all their vibrant forms, hybrids and languages, and sharing Scotland’s living traditions with the world.”

Andrew Bachell, Chair of TRACS, who led the recruitment process, said: “In Steve Byrne, TRACS has found a new Director who reflects the spread and depth of talent in Scotland’s traditional arts.”

“His appointment is a confident step towards the tough challenges that cultural organisations face over the next two years.”

Born in Arbroath an educated at Arbroath High School, Steve Byrne trained at the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University, afore embarking on a distinguished creative career.

As a founding member of Scottish folk band Malinky Byrne toured widely, while also contributing tae the digitisation o vital early recordings f Scottish music an storytelling.
Fae early in his career Steve his been a strong advocate for community use o fowk culture as a resource for local education, development an wellbeing.

He is the author o twa key strategic documents for the fowk airts in Scotland: Dig Where We Stand (2015) commissioned by TRACS, an Mapping Intangible Heritage in Scotland (2021), which wis commissioned bi a number o public bodies, including Creative Scotland, Museums and Galleries Scotland, an Historic Environment Scotland.
A savvy communicator, Steve also led the effort tae save poet, songwriter an political activist Hamish Henderson’s letters an papers, readying them for transfer tae a public collection.

Mair recently, he crowdfunded tae buy the bouzouki which Roy Williamson played in The Corries’ first version o Flower of Scotland, gifting it tae the St Cecilia’s Hall collection o historic instruments.
Steve’s previous organisational roles include Traditional Arts Officer at Edinburgh City Council, Development Worker for almost a decade at the Scots Music Group, an Chair of the Traditional Music Forum.

Mair recently he his been involved in the TRACS’ People’s Parish project in the Bainsford & Langlees area o Falkirk. This Scotland-wide project involvin aa o Scotland’s 871 parishes supports communities.

This tae discover an rediscover a ‘sense of place’ for present an future generations through stories, traditions, an heritage history.

TRACS was founded in 2011 after extensive research an consultation led bi the Scottish Government’s Traditional Arts Working Group.

Its purpose is tae advocate for traditional airts an tae mak music, storytelling an dance inclusive an accessible aspects o everyday life across Scotland.

Since its inception TRACS his been based at the Scottish Storytelling Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, wi which it wirks in close partnership on major ventures such as The Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

For the last decade TRACS has been led jointly by David Francis an Donald Smith. Though standing doon fae their shared leadership role, baith will continue tae actively support forums an projecks within TRACS.

Former Directors o TRACS, David Francis an Donald Smith said: “We are delighted to be handing on the leadership baton to Steve Byrne.”

“He is an outstanding creative, an excellent communicator, and committed to nurturing folk culture from the roots. His appointment is a boost to the vital role traditional arts and culture play in our society, past, present and future.”