Director receives National Lifetime Service Award

Storytelling - Donald Award

Following another successful edition of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, its Director Donald Smith has been awarded the Hamish Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award for services to Traditional Music and the Arts at this year’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

The award celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to the traditional arts industry and whose services the industry can’t do without. Since 2003 it has been awarded to a vast array of talent within the Scottish traditional music industry (not necessarily musicians) including Hamish Henderson, Ian Green, Fiona Ritchie, Robbie Shepherd MBE and now, 20 years on, to Donald Smith.

Donald Smith is a founding member of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, Edinburgh’s Guid Crack Club, Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and former Chief Executive of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland). He is a natural storyteller and has been an active student of Scots and Irish storytelling for over thirty years, travelling widely in Scotland and overseas as a workshop leader, lecturer and mentor to developing storytellers.

He was a pupil at Stirling High School and a student at the University of Edinburgh in the seventies, which was where he first encountered traditional storytelling as a defined artform and joined the School of Scottish Studies. From there his passion for storytelling and the arts grew, and in 1989 he set up the Scottish International Storytelling Festival one of Scotland’s flagship events and a significant part of Edinburgh’s annual cultural calendar.

Award winner Donald Smith said:

“I am amazed and delighted to receive the Hamish Henderson Award, but also in awe of his achievements. Hamish Henderson burst the dam of nay-saying and repression in Scottish life. He’s a life force who lets everyone into the flow. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and through TRACS. There are no solo runs in this culture game. And hearty thanks to everyone behind the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards for reminding us that we’re putting our steps in the footprint of giants.”

TRACS which sponsored this year’s Community Project of the Year award, won by Fèis Rois Ceilidh Trail for their ongoing support of young musicians in the trad scene, was founded in 2011 to advocate for the traditional arts. It is a co-operative network that champions traditional music, song, storytelling, dance, crafts, customs and local languages. It also celebrates the local distinctiveness of Scotland’s places: our intangible cultural heritage and is a collective voice for the Traditional Music Forum, the Scottish Storytelling Forum, and the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland.

For those with access to BBC iPlayer, you can watch the awards HERE, with Donald's acceptance speech towards the end of the show.

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