Invisible Folk is a not for profit organisation dedicated to providing grass roots creatives with a platform to make new work in partnership with heritage and arts organisations. We aim to give voice to marginalised communities and point out the role of folk song in the lives of ordinary people.
We made a film about the hundreds of people who were brought to England from Italy, Poland, South Asia and the Caribbean to work in the brickworks after the war. This was funded by the Arts Council and was shown by The Higgins Bedford.
We made a film with original music and songs about the landscape, climate and ecology of Bedfordshire. Funded by the Arts Council and shown at the Higgins Bedford.
A short play exploring gender roles in lacemaking and the response to the industrial revolution. We also adapted Lace Tells to create new music. Funded by the Arts Council in partnership with the Higgins Bedford.
We have taken part in a project to collect the memories and oral history of retired Caribbean Nurses of their time working in the NHS. This projects is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
This was a concert of folk music given to the visitors of Norton Priory in Cheshire. Some of the stories might have been about the crafts people and traders that worked at the priory in days gone by. This was funded by the Wellness Museum and the Heritage Fund
We created a walking tour of Bedford High Street from the memories and stories of the marginalised communities of Bedford. Women, Italians, Poles, Caribbean, LBGTQ, disabled people were interviewed and so were historians, curators and even a sculptor. This was created in partnership with Bedford Borough Council and funded by Historic England.
Invisible Folk's day to day work is producing radio shows and podcasts. These range from music to documentary. We have collected oral history from a variety of communities in Bedford remembering when Nelson Mandela visited in 2000. We have explored the impact the transatlantic slave trade is having today on Caribbean descendants. We talk to the heritage industry about how we tell ourselves stories of the part. Some of these are paid for by grants from the Arts Council
We have been commissioned by the Library and Theatres department of Central Bedfordshire Council to deliver two training sessions. One on how to make a podcast and one on how to get the best interview for your podcast.
Some people get left out of history books. Sometimes it is women and girls, descendants of immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, people living with disability in body or mind. In creating this walking tour of Bedford High Street we sought out those voices. That meant that D/disabled, Caribbean and Lesbian people all described Nelson Mandela's visit in 2000 and provided many other stories of this historic town which is home to many communities. We interviewed Italians, Poles, people from the black community, the LGBTQ community, people living with disability, British people, historians and museum curators. We interviewed Special Constables, members of the territorial army, artists in glass, musicians and singers, writers, carers, radio broadcasters and cooks. We then edited it down to make a coherent story. This tour is available on the IZI travel app and it was made in partnership with Bedford Borough Council and their High Street Heritage Action Zone Project, The Higgins Bedford and most of all the people of Bedford.
Invisible Folk has run three projects in partnership with the Higgins Bedford Museum supported by the Arts Council. This film seeks to understand how the Brickworks' international employment policy has a beneficial effect on the town today. The film formed part of the museum's From Bunyan to Brickworks exhibition.
Our film presents the landscape and climate around Bedfordshire in its beauty and dread. It was part of The Higgins' Under the same sky exhibition. I wrote the score for the film and other pieces and recorded them with local folk musicians. The music was released on an album called Under the Same Sky by Jon Bickley and the Invisible Folk Club Band.
I wrote a play called The Lacemaker's Answer for this project We also commissioned Gemma Khawaja and Catherine Earnshaw to join me in making new settings for traditional Bedfordshire Folk songs and for Lace Tells.
Invisible Folk partnered with The Higgins Bedford Museum to stage an all day folk festival.
we curated a stage at the Rickmansworth Folk Festival
Jon Bickley and Steve Yarwood