Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife

Bradley Hanson, Director of Folklife

Bradley Hanson has served as Director of Folklife at the Tennessee Arts Commission since January 2015. In that time, he has worked to broaden and strengthen opportunities and support for traditional artists, culture workers, organizations, and other stakeholders across the state. The most significant achievements include: the launch and rapid development of Tennessee’s first Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program; increased grant support for folklife projects in rural counties and with underserved populations; promotion of three consecutive recipients of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship; heightened public engagement with fieldwork documentation through social media and online video and photographic productions; expanded consultation and “ground floor” project planning with community organizations; and the formation of a partnership with Humanities Tennessee to develop the Tennessee Folklife Institute training worships.

He graduated from Brown University with a PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2014. Prior to joining the Commission, he worked seasonally as a cultural interpreter for the Tennessee State Parks and the Friends of the Cumberland Trail. In 2011, he was given the Blanton Owen Fund Award from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress to support his fieldwork in East Tennessee with bluegrass, country, and gospel musicians. From 2007 to 2012, he produced and hosted sixty episodes of the Cumberland Trail radio show on FM station WDVX. In 2013, he produced Fallen Country Star, an album of songs and performances by country singer and songwriter Jim Fagan, on Sandrock Recordings. In 2014, with support from the Campbell Culture Coalition and Humanities Tennessee, he created Jamboree Time, a documentary project telling the history of LaFollette’s Tennessee Jamboree radio program through rare and recently uncovered archival film clips, recordings, photographs, and oral history interviews.  At present, he is at work on Appearing in Person, a documentary film about East Tennessee banjo legend Wade Hill.