Appalshop News

We're unveiling a new collection documenting COVID in Appalachia

1 year ago


What has COVID-19 looked like in Appalachia?

We've been documenting the pandemic since it hit our region last March — one full year of COVID-19.

Through stories, photographs, oral histories, radio and storycircles, residents and media makers have built a new Appalshop project preserving what people experienced in these mountains this year. 

We're calling it "Creating in Place," and today, we're unveiling the full collection.



"Everybody's having the most difficult time. People are sick, dying, broke," said Amber Bailey in one of the collection's oral histories. "I feel like this is part of history we're living, and we're just gonna have to get through it."

But the "Creating in Place" collection also holds many moments of hope and resilience.

Young people in our Appalachian Media Institute interviewed foster parents, college students, musicians, discovering — as AMI Director Willa Johnson told the Lexington Herald-Leader — "a voice and a power they needed."

We gave disposable cameras to 7-10 year olds in Letcher County, Kentucky, and they showed us quarantine full of family, gardens, and pets. For WMMT 88.7 FM, a group of food growers described healing in turning over soil.

And in story circles organized by the Letcher County Culture Hub, actors recounted putting on performances at nursing homes, creating theater for elders socially distanced in lawnchairs.

All the materials created in this project will become part of our professional Appalshop Archive, creating a record of this incredibly eventful year in our region. 


The collection our archive is preserving includes submissions directly from community members like you (and Elijah Owsley, age 9, above) —  and that’s where you come in.

We want to hear your voice. We want you to tell your story. It's not too late: submit photos or any materials that illustrate your experience during COVID to the collection here.

It’s up to us to document what this pandemic is doing to our communities, and to tell our own stories — just like we’ve been committed to doing since Appalshop started in 1969.

We're so proud to partner with you to do it, and we hope you'll contribute to "Creating in Place."

More information available at @appalshop on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and


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