Folk Arts Oxford aims to promote folk and traditional dance, music and song in the Oxfordshire region. In particular we are interested in improving access for those who might face barriers to participation in the arts.

Through our funded project work: children in Headington have learned about local lad William Kimber, and the musical legacy he has left; a new band called Iris has been formed, who accompany all their songs with Makaton signing; children from mainstream and special schools in Oxfordshire have the chance to create music together, and perform on the main stage at Folk Weekend: Oxford.

Alongside our own projects and events, FAO works collaboratively with other local organisations, forging links and creating opportunities for folk artists to work in education and community projects, as well as showcase their talent in local events. 

Back to the Quarry

Back to the Quarry is an exciting new project exploring the musical history of the Kimber family from Headington Quarry, Oxfordshire - from the great concertina player William Kimber, who has inspired generations of musicians and dancers, to his granddaughter Julie Kimber-Nickelson and her family who still live in the village today. The Kimber family have had a significant impact on the folk and Morris traditions of Oxfordshire, and are still making a contribution to the living and evolving musical traditions of the area.

The BTTQ project aims to share Kimber's story with the local community - and wider afield - by creating an interactive website which gives visitors the chance to explore different parts of the story. We'll also be doing workshops with two local primary schools, where the children will get the chance to explore the heritage materials and find their own way of telling Kimber's story.

Come back to this page for updates from our project blog, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.


Map of Kimber landmarks

The children from Wood Farm were really excited to discover that Kimber was born in a cottage only a couple of minutes walk from their school. They were also fascinated by the fact that he was a builder, and built houses for himself to live in as well as for others.

Here is a map they created to show the important landmarks in the story of Bill Kimber. Click the rectangular icon at the top right to view full screen.


Workshops at Wood Farm School

Last week we started the main part of the education side of BTTQ. We are doing workshops in two local schools, and from these workshops will be creating a resource for teachers to use to enable them to carry out the project themselves.

We started off in Wood Farm School, which is only a couple of minutes walk away from the cottage where Kimber was born! The children were fascinated to hear about his life, and especially so when they realised how close he lived to where they go to school.

We deliberately kept the workshops quite free-form, to enable the children to let us know what they found interesting - the group quickly split in to three, each with their own ideas about what they wanted to find out.

One group was very interested in researching facts about Kimber's life, particularly about all the different places he lived, and the houses he built. They made a poster with facts on, and also created a map of Headington with all the important places marked.

Another group made up a play to tell the story of the meeting between Kimber and Sharp, and the final group decided to focus on dance. They watched videos of the Headington Quarry Morris Dancers, and used what they saw to create their own dance. They even had a visit from a real live Morris Dancer on day 2, who taught them some steps!

And ALL of the children enjoyed learning the mini-melodeon!


Music in the Family

We're very pleased to finally release this short film, made last November, where Julie Kimber-Nickelson (granddaughter of William Kimber) talks about the influence of folk and Morris on her family.