Since 1988, the Appalachian Media Institute has provided opportunities for young people from across Central Appalachia to explore their home communities, address local issues, and become thoughtful, engaged citizens through the process of place-based media making.
2014 marks the 26th year of a program that has intensively trained over 1,000 young people and supported the production of over 125 youth-made media pieces, ranging from profiles of Appalachian artisans, to regional identity, to studies of the economic, environmental and societal impacts of coal mining practices in the region.
The work of AMI youth producers has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Sundance Film Festival, and recognized with the Coming Up Taller award presented by Hillary Clinton.
While documentaries made by AMI youth producers have been seen by audiences from across the United States and across the world, many pieces have had their biggest impacts in local dialogues and debates surrounding issues such as domestic violence, prejudice, drug abuse, and youth activism.
AMI is a project of Appalshop, a multi-media arts and cultural organization located in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Appalshop’s mission is to develop effective ways of using media to address the complex issues facing central Appalachia – a declining coal economy, a legacy of environmental damage, high unemployment rates, and poor educational opportunities and attainment. In 1988, Appalshop staff members founded the Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) as a media training program for central Appalachian youth. Using the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop, AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities.
AMI strives to:
Be sure to view our online multimedia gallery to get a sense of what a quarter century of Appalachian youth media is really all about!