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Words On Music

Course with Kate Molleson & Peter Meanwell

Two-week course with selection process

Tutors: Kate Molleson & Peter Meanwell

Course fee: 450€ (+15€ system and booking fees)

What’s the future of music criticism? What does progressive cultural discourse look and sound like? What sort of language and references are meaningful? What are the right platforms, whose voices should be listened to – and how can we make sure the conversation resonates?

As the traditional media landscape spirals and public debate becomes increasingly reductive and polarised, Words On Music is a hands-on course investigating constructive ways of writing and talking about new music. Multi-media in scope and functional in execution, you can expect daily creative outputs as well as space for broad conversation and longer-form work.

The focus will be on broadcast and print journalism, led by Peter Meanwell (artistic director of Borealis – a festival for experimental music [Norway], creative director of audio production company Reduced Listening Ltd [UK]) and Kate Molleson (BBC Radio 3 presenter, ex-Guardian music critic [UK]).

Throughout the fortnight, participants will plan, produce and host a daily Darmstadt Live radio chat show for reviews, interviews and discussion. During the second week, we’ll work on creative audio pieces which respond to Darmstadt in a critical and potentially more abstract way using sound as a mode of reportage, reflection and provocation. With the help of our resident sound engineer, we’ll develop recording and editing techniques as well as thinking about form, content, voice and other essential on-air skills.

We’ll also go deep on the written word through the process of planning, pitching, drafting, editing and publishing serious pieces of music journalism. By the end of the fortnight, each participant will be published on our course webpage. The reach is considerable: in previous years, articles have been picked up by key industry publications.


  • An interest in critical and constructive discourse around diverse contemporary music cultures – this is not a place for haters.
  • Willingness to collaborate, take responsibility and create output during the course.
  • An interest in both written word and audio (although experience in both is not necessary).
  • Access to a laptop you can use during the course and some sort of simple audio recorder you can familiarise yourself with before arriving (if this will be a problem, please contact us at the time of applying and we will see what can be arranged).
  • A commitment to being part of this course, not just coming to Darmstadt. 🙂


  • The course participants, in small groups, will have responsibility for creating a live radio show / podcast once every four days. There will be preparation required, and the hours of the course are variable.
  • We will endeavour to avoid clashes with key symposia / concerts during the course.
  • You will be required to make your opinions through writing / radio available on public platforms (initially via Darmstadt website, possibly further through media partners).
  • You will have the assistance of an expert sound engineer during the course.
  • The course will be in English.


Applicants are requested to merge all links and documents into ONE SINGLE PDF file (LASTNAME_Firstname_Words2023.pdf) and send it by ⏰ 28 February 2023 to:

Required documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 2 text samples and/or a radio/audio report (link to mp3 file) and/or a recommendation from a university tutor
  • a short rationale as to why you would like to take part in the workshop

Please note that we cannot consider any remarks, links, or information outside the PDF!
If you have sound or video files, please upload them on a cloud and provide the link in the PDF, thank you very much!

If you have questions, please e-mail

Applicants will be notified in March 2023. Online booking for the course will be opened afterwards to the chosen participants.

Important: Please take note of our data protection policy and the conditions for participation for the Darmstadt Summer Course before submitting your application.