Origins of Story-to-Song

Story-to-Song (STS) is the culmination of research conducted by Marieke Slovin Lewis and Malcolm Brooks, who worked together closely for several years, studying and exploring the connections between songwriting and sustainability during their time as doctoral students in the Sustainability Education PhD program at Prescott College.

It was through this dynamic, collaborative, iterative research that Marieke and Malcolm transformed an initial idea for composing music from a story into a fully formed method. This research became the basis for each of their individual dissertations.

To learn about how to write a song using the Story-to-Song method, visit: Write a Story-to-Song

Story-to-Song Timeline

2010 Malcolm Brooks share the seed of an idea for what he refers to as “Autoethnographic Songwriting” as a PhD Colloquium at Prescott College in May. In October, Marieke volunteers to share a story and is guided through the process of writing a song with cohort members observing at the October colloquium at Estes Park, Colorado.

2011 Malcolm and Marieke begin to work together to determine if this process can be replicated in front of an audience and offer a songwriting demonstration presentation at the May Colloquium at Prescott College. From there, they begin joint research into the process of writing a song from a spoken story. They complete an IRB, which is approved by Prescott College, and work in tandem through a collaborative, iterative process to delineate specific steps that can be followed to write song. The process is determined to be a method. Marieke suggests the name “Story-to-Song.”


Montreal Conference

EforAll entrepreneur accelerator program

Marieke presents the method in Boston

The Workers Remember

2013 Marieke and Malcolm publish dissertations on the topic of sustainability and songwriting.

Marieke and Malcolm publish an article on the process of writing a song using the Story-to-Song method.

2014 New Bedford Whaling

2015 Marieke works with a man with Alzheimer’s and his wife to write a song about his life as a pilot.

Malcolm goes on to create the non-profit DocSong. He begins to use the term Documentary Songwriting in place of Story-to-Song. Marieke continues her work with the method as Story-to-Song through her own organization, Guiding Song.

2016 Marieke presents a workshop at the Peregrine Book Company and speaks at a ? public speaking about the Story-to-Song method.

2017 Marieke begins work at the Fedasil Arrival Centre Klein-Kasteeljte in Brussels, Belgium on what will become the Migration Songs project.

Include Europeana exhibit article podcast

2020 or 2019?

Presentation at the Catholic University of Lille student-led migration colloquium

Migratie Migration Museum presentation and exhibit and podcast

Marieke and Sarah publish “On the Move: Poems and Songs of Migration”

Migration Songs project is shortlisted for the Amateo Award for Arts Participation projects in Europe

Brussels workshops at Fedasil and Romania House


Participation in a global online group for Japanese speakers learning English. Marieke presents the Story-to-Song method, shares songs from the migration songs project, and leads a songwriting demonstration with the group host, Mayuko Yoshida.