16 July 2019

** 2nd High Light of ICAF 2020 **


Appalshop, a U.S. nonprofit cultural arts organization based in the mountainous central Appalachian coalfields of eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, upper eastern Tennessee, and southwestern Virginia, is coming to ICAF to celebrate its 50th anniversary through exchange with its international peers!

Appalshop was founded in late 1969 by Bill Richardson, an architect, and a group of aspiring young artists who secured funding from the Kennedy administration’s War on Poverty program to engage their neighbors in raising awareness of Appalachia's cultural and community strengths and to grapple with the region's poverty.

The resulting documentary films (Appalshop Films), plays (Roadside Theater), print publications (Mountain Review), and audio recordings (June Appal Recordings) engendered a new sense of hope among a people with a long history of combating the effects of an economy that made absentee owners rich and left the region's people relatively under-resourced and stigmatized.

Film Screening & workshop : Strangers & Kin (Appalshop, 1983)
This documentary is one of the classics in Appalshop’s production history. It is a powerful cinematographic deconstruction of the stigmatization of mountain people in Appalachia that began in the 17thcentury and continues to this day. The way the US-American media stereotyped Appalachians (‘Hillbillies’) was one of the main reasons for the founders of Appalshop to begin their work in Eastern Kentucky. The film is a compelling plea for the relevance of community art, which in many places around the globe combats prejudice and stereotyping of marginalized groups and the contexts in which they live and work.

The screening of this one-hour film will be followed by an extended workshop in which the process of stereotyping will be explored through story circle techniques applied to examples from various countries and regions.

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