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An Arbroath-born musician, folklorist and community activist has been appointed as director of national arts organisation TRACS.

Mark Dowie
Wednesday, 18th January 2023, 3:00pm
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Steven Byrne was educated at Arbroath High School and trained at the School of Scottish Studies at Edinburgh University, before embarking on a distinguished creative career.

As a founding member of Scottish folk band Malinky, he toured widely, while also contributing to the digitisation of vital early recordings of Scottish music and storytelling.

He will take up his appointment with TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) from March, continuing the work of the work and its three forums for traditional music, storytelling and traditional dance, as well as developing and showcasing Scotland’s rich cultural heritage.

From early in his career Steve has been a strong advocate for community use of folk culture as a resource for local education, development and well-being. He is the author of two key strategic documents for the folk arts in Scotland - ‘Dig Where We Stand' (2015), commissioned by TRACS, and ‘Mapping Intangible Heritage in Scotland’ (2021) commissioned by a number of public bodies, including Creative Scotland, Museums and Galleries Scotland, and Historic Environment Scotland.

He also led the effort to save poet, songwriter and political activist Hamish Henderson’s letters and papers, readying them for transfer to a public collection. Previous organisational roles include Traditional Arts Officer at Edinburgh City Council, Development Worker for almost a decade at the Scots Music Group, and Chair of the Traditional Music Forum.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be appointed to lead an organisation that I consider to be key to the future of traditional arts in Scotland. I’m 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.”

TRACS was founded in 2011 after extensive research and consultation led by the Scottish Government’s Traditional Arts Working Group. Its purpose is to advocate for traditional arts and to make music, storytelling and dance inclusive and accessible aspects of everyday life.

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