Bedford is a town rich in history, creativity and diversity.
Invisible Folk has been working with Bedford in a variety of different ways since 2019, to share that heritage, artistry and community engagement.
We have worked with the Borough Council, The Higgins Bedford Museum, The High Street Heritage Action Zone, with Bedford Radio and with Bedford Independent.
There is no end to the vitality of the people of Bedford and we intend to go on sharing it.
If you are from somewhere other than Bedford and think we could work with you to bring out the creativity and community engagement in your town, write now and see what we can do.
This is a digital walking tour of Bedford High Street hosted by IZI Travel (an app on your phone) created by Invisible Folk in partnership with the Borough Council as part of their Community Engagement programme.
We interviewed histrians, museum curators and lots of people who grew up using the High Street for shopping, meeting friends, starting a business, all life is there. We walk from John Bunyan's statue at the top of the High Street down to St.Paul's.
You can learn a lot about your town by following this free tour.
Preview the tour via this link
On 7th April 2000 Nelson Mandela came to Bedford to dedicate the bust of Trevor Huddleston on Silver Street.
As part of the High Street Heritage Action Zone project and in partnership with Bedford Borough Council and funded by Historic England this podcast captures the memories of those who commissioned the statue, organised the visit and saw him in the High Street on that memorable day.
This is the authentic voice of Bedford revelling in a cherished memory. Rarely has a single event been recalled with such joy. Every witness tells how the day was truly special and lives in their memory today.
As part of its Sharing History project the RCNA (Bedford) has been contacting retired nurses who studied, worked or lived in Bedford. In one-to-one interviews their stories are being recorded by Oral History Society-trained volunteers. These stories will be donated to The Higgins, Bedford (museum) to share with communities and schools in the borough. Invisible Folk were delighted to be asked to record these stories and experiences for posterity.
Invisible Folk will teach you how to make a podcast and how to conduct better interviews. Here we are training Central Beds Council. We all had a lot of fun.
Made for the Higgins Bedford's exhibition From Bunyan to Brickworks this film was shot by Ian Yarwood. It examines London Brick's international recruitment policy and the impact it had on today's town. It also demonstrated how folk song can tell the story of a town and its people. This project was made possible by our first Arts Council Grant.
The Higgins Bedford staged an exhibition of paintings exploring climate, countryside and ecology in Bedfordshire. We contributed a film. Shot by Hannah Lovell and edited by Matt Fleming it is a meditation on the immersive quality of the countryside. The score was written by Jon Bickley and performed by the Invisible Folk Club Band. It is part of an album also called Under the same sky. This project was made possible by our second Arts Council Grant.
During the Bunyan to Brickworks exhibition we held an open day in partnership with the Higgins Bedford. Inside a panel discussion collected stories about those who had worked in the brickworks and outside ten folk music acts entertained visitors.
Barry Goodman plays two tunes written by Graeme Meek, Seven Chimneys and The Stewartby Phorpres. They were filmed by Ian Yarwood as part of our Bricks that built a community project and the finished film formed part of the From Bunyan to Brickworks exhibition.
Jon Bickley and the Sharnbrook Community Choir sing Jon's song Calling All The Angels in St.Peter's in Sharnbrook. Filmed by Ian Yarwood, recorded by Ben Farestvedt, choirmaster Mike Gibbons.
In 2020 Invisible Folk obtained their third Arts Council Grant. It was to write a play exploring gender roles in Lacemaking in the nineteenth century. We also commissioned Catherine Earnshaw, Gemma Ghawaja and Jon Bickley to create new musical settings for Lace Tells and other folk songs. These songs are available on the Lacemakers playlist.
The Invisible Folk Club is a weekly music show on Bedford Radio. Tune in on Friday night at 9pm to hear presenter Jon Bickley and producer Steve Yarwood play the best folk and roots music. If you miss it live you can find it on Mixcloud or the Invisible Folk Club podcast feed at your usual provider. (inc Spotify and Apple Music)
Our podcast series has featured many community leaders in Bedford. We talked to Erica Roffe about the role of local journalism.