Appalshop Contract Work, Unreleased Projects and Other Documentation Collection, 1971-2015

1969 – 2015


266 Film containers
1479 Audio tapes
117 Video tapes
2051 Video cassettes
151 Audio cassettes
7 Vinyl discs
10 Boxes
Scope and Contents
This collection contains audiovisual historical documentation and media recordings made by Appalshop staff, that are unrelated to final film productions or regular Appalshop project events (such as the Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival). This includes material recorded in the making of unreleased or incomplete film and video projects, contract work for other organizations, journalistic documentation of events such as mining disasters, one-time music events, literary readings, workshops, etc. Paper and promotional records for these projects are also part of the collection.
Appalshop is a multi-media arts and cultural center located in Central Appalachia. The organization began in 1969 as a branch of the New York-based Community Film Workshop Council (CFWC) founded by the American Film Institute. A grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity supported vocational programs in film and video production to train minorities and youth in communities with high unemployment. CFWC workshop sites were located primarily in urban areas with a few rural sites. The Community Film Workshop of Appalachia was established in the coalfield town of Whitesburg, Kentucky (population 1,200). With limited jobs in media available locally, the expectation was that the Appalachian trainees would leave the area to find work in cities where the media industry existed. However, a core group of workshop trainees regarded their growing media literacy as a tool for countering negative, stereotypical portrayals of rural people in mainstream media. In 1970 the Community Film Workshop of Appalachia severed its ties with the CFWC and incorporated as the Appalachian Film Workshop, soon shortened to Appalshop. A management and governance structure was established, and in 1972 the organization received an infusion of funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This funding led to the production of new documentaries, increased distribution of films, and an expansion of the reputation of the workshop, which attracted new trainees and media activists as well as artists from other fields. Appalshop filmmakers have produced films about all aspects of life in central Appalachia including coal mining, labor strikes, subsistence farming, traditional crafts, musical expressions, storytelling and Appalachian literature, religious practices, politics, and environmental issues.
Physical Description
The collection consists of: Film: 16 mm picture and magnetic track, 8 mm; Video: 1/2-inch open reel, 3/4" Umatic, Betacam SP, D2, VHS, Hi-8, 8mm DVCam and MiniDV video tape; Audio tape: 1-inch, 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch open reel; Audio cassette: regular audio cassette, minicassette, DAT, VHS ADAT Paper: promotional items, correspondence, proposals, clippings and research