SongSeeds Guest Speaker

At SongSeeds Online Songwriting Retreats, we believe that sharing practice can both motivate and demystify the songwriting experience.

As part of the new framework for our residential retreats, you can expect 3 music industry faces who will take a deep-dive into their process, answer your questions and set a tailored songwriting challenge for the day. Our guests range from commercial industry to underground and DIY practitioners, all of whom are established, experienced songwriters.


You can check out our previous guests in our Guest Speaker Gallery

We are absolutely thrilled to invite Karine Polwart to provide a masterclass and Jo D'Arc and Matthew Hickman (BrownBear) to provide workshops at our January retreat!!


January 2023

//Masterclass from... Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart by Sandy Butler.jpg

KARINE POLWART is a multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter, folk singer, composer, theatre-maker and author. Recent projects include her Scottish Songbook re-imaginings of classic Scottish pop; The Lost Words: Spell Songs, a multi-artist response to environmental loss and climate breakdown; and Wind Resistance, her peatbog-inspired theatre show for The Royal Lyceum/EIF. 

She has worked previously with the BBC SSO, author James Robertson, documentary-maker Anthony Baxter, and indie composer RM Hubbert. 

2021 saw both the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra commission new works, in collaboration with sound designer/composer Pippa Murphy, and in the lead up to COP26 Karine wrote “Enough is Enough”, a participative piece, commissioned by Oi Musica for massed voices & street bands, and performed by ensembles from Glasgow to London, and Brussels to Accra.


‘One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain’
The Guardian ★★★★★

//Workshops from...


Honesty, passion and self-awareness are the key markers of a great storyteller. Without these qualities, stories can disappear into the ether, losing their power in the process. Matt Hickman has been innately aware of this push and pull throughout his career, viewing his role and responsibility as a creative to respond on an emotional yet wholly relatable level.

Brownbear’s 2014 debut single ‘Dead Or Alive’ was the initial spark that led to positive attention from radio and other media outlets, resulting in support slots with The Libertines at venues like the Barrowlands and Alexandra Palace, as well as several European dates. From this point until the release of debut album ‘What Is Home?’ in 2018, Matt worked on building up a solid fan base for Brownbear in Scotland and further afield

In 2020, Matt was selected as one of the awardees of GMAC Film’s Little Pictures development fund, which gave emerging filmmakers the funds to complete their first short films.

By the time that next single ‘One More Night’ came along in 2022, Matt had reached a whole new trajectory with Brownbear. He credits this to his work in film and how this has impacted how he structures a narrative, visually and conceptually.

Having positioned himself as a firm promoter of the work of other creatives of colour in the country from the start, he hopes to inspire others to similarly expand their horizons and discover new means of storytelling.


//Jo D'Arc

JO D'ARC is a musician, producer/DJ, artist and writer based in Glasgow where she is also a community worker and activist.

Jo sings and plays bass guitar in alternative art-punk band The Twistettes. The band have toured across the UK and East Asia making an almighty noise wherever they go. Jo's latest project is experimental electronica in Minerva Wakes which mixes lush trip-hop and gritty dubstep. The multi-arts project, released in March 2021 includes an album, book and art collection. 

DJ Jo D’arc has performed at raves, gigs and festivals across the country. 

Jo is also a published poet, releasing her pamphlet ‘Minerva and the Whir' in 2021, now being developed into a script with help from the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

She has created two collections of abstract photography ‘The Goddess Awakes’ and ‘Flowers in the Dark’.

All of Jo’s artistic works address wider social, political or societal issues. This has been influenced by her upbringing in a mining family with Romani heritage in a particularly politicised area. They were always passionate about the rights of the every-day person and challenging oppression which has influenced Jo’s interest in class-based discussions and identity politics.