Creating unique songs together
Citizen Songwriters is a social enterprise based in the North East of England that realises the power of writing music to bring people together who wouldn't otherwise meet. Citizen Songwriters offers unique experiences for people to connect with the heart of songwriting and in doing so, connect deeper with their communities and the people they live with.
Citizen Songwriters began in April 2018 as ‘Stories of Sanctuary’ a songwriting project that brought together people seeking sanctuary in County Durham, including Syrian refugees and other residents of the city of Durham. Stories of Sanctuary was found by singer-songwriter and community facilitator Sam Slatcher through an Arts Council ‘Grant for the Arts’ grant. The following year Stories of Sanctuary took participants on tour across the UK with the songs they’d written about their different journeys of sanctuary to the North East. They visited various festivals including the Migration Matters Festival in Sheffield and Journeys Festival International at Leicester Cathedral.
In December 2018, Citizen Songwriters – a Community Interest Company – was founded by Sam along with participants of Stories of Sanctuary, Pippa Bell and Sabah Al Hassoun. Since, March 2019 Citizen Songwriters has delivered workshops at Stockton Arts Centre with performance artist Natasha Davis, Stronger Communities Middlesbrough (Middlesbrough Council), Durham for Refugees Festival, Jack Drum Arts in Crook, Oasis Community Housing in Gateshead and national songwriting events with City of Sanctuary. You can read all about our 2019 activities in our end of year report.
In 2020, we expanded our team to include Stacey Deinali, the founder and director of ATOMS Education, and music practitioner Alexandra Summerson. Although 2020 and the Covid crisis has hit the arts hard with challenges of how to meet together, write and perform, Citizen Songwriters has been adapting to these changes through our online programmes: Citizens Online, Create & Connect (Sanctuary Songwriting) as well as our participation with the Sound Out! programme and Unforgettable Experience's 12 week songwriting programme. We have also been producing educational resources on songwriting and playing the ukulele which we are delivering to children and their families in East Durham to help support their musical education.
You can join our Citizens Online programme here.
If you would like to commission Citizen Songwriters for a workshop or performance, please get in touch with the team here. We base our fees on the Artist's Union recommended pay rates.