Citizen Songwriters is a social enterprise based in the North East of England that builds bridges between communities through songwriting. Citizen Songwriters supports disadvantaged groups including people from refugee backgrounds and others who are socially isolated by providing professionally facilitated workshops. The interactive programme includes storytelling, writing lyrics, making melodies, crafting songs as well as rehearsing and performing them.

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 found 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 as well as Oasis Community Housing in Gateshead. A second programme of Stories of Sanctuary is scheduled for June 2020 with plans for a schools educational programme to be developed.

Get involved with Citizen Songwriters! Please e-mail here to explore bringing Citizen Songwriters to your organisation, festival or event.

~ Participate ~
Take part in a community songwriting project and learn to put lyrics and music to the story of your city, your community or your own life.
~ Create ~
Unleash your creative writing and music making. No prior musical experience necessary – only a passion for music!

~ Connect ~ 
Join others in your neighbourhood, discover their story and learn about the diversity of your community or city.