Our Mission


Documentary Songwriting connects teaching artists and storytellers from around the world to transform personal stories into enduring songs.


The goals at the heart of


Our Mission

DocSong’s mission is to transform personal stories into songs that build connection, empathy, and a shared sense of humanity.

Our Vision

We are building a world where shared stories and music connect us to each other, creating thriving communities committed to deep listening, empathy, and mutual care.

Jonathan Westhorp | Manchester, England

“It was only after going through the process that I fully realised the benefit to my emotional well being. After being able to share the experience, make music while expressing my core emotions, I feel emotionally stronger and true to myself.”


An early collaboration leads to a narrative-driven creative process

Documentary Songwriting is an outgrowth of the ancient oral tradition of people’s singing about their experiences. Our method, which was established in 2009 by Malcolm Brooks and Hanna Batley, offers a specific process and uses modern tools such as laptops and smartphones.

The Documentary Songwriting method evolved from a collaboration between Malcolm and Hannah for the Rockland Unitarian Universalist Church choir, in which Malcolm asked Hannah to explore creating a melody while reading words that Malcolm had written. The resulting work, Sunflower, encouraged them to continue writing in this way. Read more about Sunflower in our Resources section.

That first song marked the birth of the Story-to-Song Method (now most often called the Documentary Songwriting Method) and the culmination of the first stage of evolution of a creative method. It has since grown – along with the DocSong family – as detailed in the list of milestones below.

"Documentary songwriting is a meaningful modern continuation of the oral traditions that have been practiced by marginalized cultures throughout history.”

Anonymous Donor | 2018