Roam magazine celebrates the modern folk movement in a refreshing new way

We love a good passion project here at Creative Boom, and here’s our favourite of 2024 so far! Roam magazine is taking an inclusive and cross-disciplinary approach to showcasing the modern folk movement.

As the philosopher George Santayana once wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” But history isn’t just a list of names and dates, wars and leaders; it’s much broader than that.

Folk music, folk tales, folk art and other cultural artefacts are passed down from generation to generation and may point to deeper truths than official history, which can often be heavily influenced by contemporary propaganda. And so we have to salute Roam, a passion project of illustrator and designer Tom Stockwell and archaeologist and writer Henry Rayment-Pickard.

Diverse topics

Roam is a collaborative magazine that aims to celebrate and preserve the modern ways people engage with the past. More specifically, the anthology is designed to pursue an inclusive and cross-disciplinary look at the modern folk movement.

“In light of the overused ‘folk revival’ moniker that we feel is unreflective of the cultural regeneration happening all across the country, we hope to show through this body of work that the folky world is branching out in new and exciting ways, rather than stomping old ground,” says Tom.

In its first edition, Roam thematically links together a diverse range of 58 artists and creatives across 150 pages who explore topics including sculpture, tattoos, film festivals, foraging, fashion, scavenger hunts, map-making and ceramics.

A fun illustration on the front cover pairs nicely with the squiggly, earthy typography; design touches that convey the duo’s aim to “make the discovery and reading of folk fun again”. Copy is set in a custom typeface, Bog Neue, inspired by the marshes around Tollesbury Wick, Essex, where Henry grew up.

Beyond social media

Roam emerged after Henry (editor) and Tom (designer) noticed that the folk community relied on social media to form a community.

Noting that social media algorithms were separating people by craft rather than uniting them by theme, the duo set out to preserve the work of these creatives in a physical artefact in the hope of cross-discipline collaboration and the inspiration of new work. It’s also designed to be a fallback if and when the time comes when social platforms wither away and die.

“Through this physical medium, we hope to transcend the fleeting nature of social media and provide a physical platform that brings together talented creatives of all mediums and backgrounds, inspiring cross-discipline collaboration, an injection of new energy to the modern folk movement, and showing that the folk art world isn’t just stomping old ground,” explains Tom.

Runaway success

The magazine was launched via a crowdfunding campaign that successfully reached its goal after just three days. “We celebrated with an event held at All-Hallows-on-the-wall, where we had over 150 attendees and a host of amazing performances from some of the featured artists, as well as raising money for charity,” says Tom.

“We are now on our second print run of the magazine, which is available in numerous stores across the country, such as Family Store, MagCulture and Dash The Henge.

Both founders are based in London. Tom studied Illustration at Kingston School of Art and aims to collage feelings of escapism, nostalgia, otherworldliness, and just the downright weird through his body of work. Henry Rayment-Pickard is an archaeologist, photographer and writer specialising in Early-Medieval archaeology. The two have long been friends, bonding over their mutual love of folklore, history, zines, and music.

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