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International Storytelling Center announces Summit for Young Appalachians

Contributed • Dec 3, 2018 at 11:11 AM

The International Storytelling Center, home to the world-renowned National Storytelling Festival and Storytelling Live! Teller-in-Residence series, announces it will host “My Voice, Our Place: A Young Appalachian Story Summit” on Friday, Dec. 14, from 8 a.m. to 4 pm.

The free, one-day event will feature an inspirational keynote, examples of stories in action, an interactive workshop and opportunities to stay involved.

Summit participants will have the opportunity to hear from diverse voices within Appalachia who are using storytelling as a leadership tool; to understand how to take action in their own communities; and to join a network of like-minded young Appalachians to collaborate with beyond the event.

The Summit will focus on the issues in Appalachia that attendees are passionate about and participants will have the opportunity to customize into one-of-a-kind agendas based on their own interests and experience.

The event will feature stories in action from Appalshop’s Media Institute. Since 1988, AMI has provided opportunities for young people across Central Appalachia to explore their home communities, address local issues and become thoughtful, engaged citizens through the process of place-based media making.

While documentaries made by AMI youth producers have been seen by audiences from across the United States and the world, many pieces have had their biggest impact in local dialogues and debates surrounding issues such as domestic violence, prejudice, drug abuse and youth activism.

Attendees will also be guided through a workshop led by award-winning storyteller and educator Adam Booth. Participants will learn to narrate the change they wish to see in their communities using story, including finding the right language to engage fellow Appalachians and inspire them to action.

Equally at home as a teller and educator, Booth’s research and presentations have included the Berea Appalachian Sound Archives Fellowship, the National Academy of Medicine, Ghost Ranch, the National Storytelling Conference and the National Endowment for the Humanities Voices from the Misty Mountains summer seminars and institutes. He teaches Appalachian Studies at Shepard University and is the founding director of the Speak Story Series.

“We are honored to have the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities to make the ‘My Voice, Our Place’ summit happen,” said event coordinator Rachel Stiltner.

“Historically, the voices of Appalachians, and especially those of marginalized groups within Appalachia, have been stifled by stereotypes. Helping young Appalachians identify and tell their own stories creates leaders. And when we connect those voices to communities, we can build a better, truer Appalachia for young people.”

“My Voice, Our Place: A Young Appalachian Story Summit” is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The event is free, open to young Appalachians aged 16-30, and limited to 50 applicants. A travel stipend is available.

To learn more about the International Storytelling Center or to apply for the event, visit www.storytellingcenter.net or call 423-753-2171, ext. 222.

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