2011 Student Symposium

Taking place on the same energy intense day at the Cats played the Final Four, the second annual Appalachian Research Symposium and Arts Showcase was held on April 2, 2011.

The symposium is intended to foster a supportive community in which students from various fields can present their Appalachian-based research and creative work, learn from each others' findings, and discuss research and practice obstacles, successes and potential points of collaboration.

The morning kicked off with a welcome by Lisa Conley, Appalachian Center Research Assistant and organizer of the event. Stephanie Richards, the first arts extension agent in the United States, delivered the keynote address. Richards, the UK Extension Agent for Pike County, KY shared the various arts projects in the five regions of Pike County, a county roughly the size of Rhode Island. Dr. Evelyn Knight, Director of the Appalachian Center remarked upon the role of Appalachian research in the university and sent everyone on their way to a day of excellent panel presentations, good food, music, and engaging conversations.

This year, the symposium included an arts showcase in addition to a scholarly paper section. Sociology Masters student Feng Hao won the best graduate academic paper for his paper, “Social Capital, Solidarity, and Cohort Effect- Analyzing the Production of Social Capital among Union Miners in Harlan County.” Hao’s work utilized the recorded interviews of Appalachian scholar Alessandro Portelli which are housed in the Nunn Oral History Center on UK’s campus. Alyssa Myers and Jane Hughes, both pursuing Masters degrees in Interior Design shared the arts showcase award with Natalie Baxter, working on a Masters degree in Studio Art. The awards for both the scholarly paper and the arts showcase included a $500 scholarship to assist the students with their research and work expenses.

Panel presentations ran the gamut and covered research on communities addressing environmentally related health issues; interior design approaches for the Mountain Comprehensive Care Center; the complex influences upon Appalachian music beyond English and Scots-Irish balladry; solidarity and social capital among union coal miners; Harry Caudill’s opposition to surface coal mining; advancing alternative economic development practices through undergraduate research; tradition as a motivating factor for home food preservation practitioners in east Kentucky; and two short films documenting a molasses stir-off and fried apple pie-making in Letcher County, Kentucky.

Plans for next year’s symposium include an extended arts showcase, a creative writing section, and more great food, fun, and dialogue! If you are interested in participating in next year’s symposium, please contact Lisa Conley at lisa.conley@uky.edu to be added to the Appalachian Research Community student group listserv. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The event is sponsored by Appalachian Studies, the UK Appalachian Center, and the Appalachian Research Community student group.


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