AMI is Hiring for All Access EKY!

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AMI is hiring youth producers for our second semester of the All Access Reproductive Healthcare project! 

We're looking for folks aged 14-22 to tell stories about access to reproductive healthcare in eastern Kentucky! This is a great opportunity to learn about media production-- from podcasting to video production and photography.

All Access EKY is a partnership of Appalshop, The Kentucky Health Justice Network, and Power to Decide, supported by the Educational Foundation of America. Together we are leading a project that works with ten Southeastern KY counties to build support for programs and services to ensure young people have access to the full range of contraceptive methods. Studies have shown that when young people have access to and correct information about birth control and reproductive health, as well as the opportunity to make decisions about their future, reductions in unplanned pregnancy are sure to follow.


*8 week paid fellowship to produce audio, video, and written pieces telling the stories of birth control access, reproductive health care, and medical work happening here in Eastern Kentucky.

* Up to 5 applicants will be chosen from the region to work intensively with All Access EKY/Appalshop staff. Over the course of the Spring semester we will explore the basics of video and audio production, view and discuss documentary video, and learn how to produce and distribute meaningful media about community issues.

* The multimedia work produced during our spring semester has the potential to be seen by audiences across the United States, and abroad.

* Working with All Access EKY can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. It is important that you are interested in exploring your creativity through media making. You must:

1) be a responsible All Access EKY employee by upholding the policies and spirit of the program and organization and

2) be willing to learn from and share with others.


AMI Goes to Chicago

2017 SDI Alumnus Shaylan Clark, photograph by Oakley Fugate

2017 SDI Alumnus Shaylan Clark, photograph by Oakley Fugate

In early November the Appalachian Media Institute was proud to travel to Chicago to participate in the Alliance for Media Arts and Culture's Youth Media Hatch Lab-- the Alliance's annual storytelling workshop that is designed to build creative strategy skills for filmmakers and nonprofit organizations. HatchLabs facilitate collaborations between artists, movement leaders, scientists/technologists, civic leaders, policy makers and communities.  HatchLabs offer new tools and opportunities for the voices of those traditionally marginalized to be a central part of creative ideation and social reform.

HatchLab participants gathered together, joining a team of award-winning artist/mentors to explore inclusive, collaborative, and responsive storytelling models, build deeper connections as a creative community, and activate new narratives designed to embolden and sustain vulnerable communities.

The Chicago Youth Media Hatch Lab brought youth together from the RYSE Center in Richmond, California with youth from AMI in Whitesburg, Kentucky for three days of exploration, collaboration and shared meals. In addition to workshopping, youth participants had the opportunity to share work and learn from others during the Alliance's Youth Media Summit at the Gene Siskel Theater. 

All photographs provided by Oakley Fugate. 


Announcing All Access EKY!

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Appalshop's Appalachian Media Institute and Community Media Initiative Making Connections News are proud to announce a new project! In Kentucky, 47% of pregnancies are unplanned with only 9 clinics in a 10 county radius offering a full range of contraception.  These are the kind of numbers that lead to the new collaborative project called All Access EKY, in partnership with the  Kentucky Health Justice Network, and The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The goal of the project is to help increase the number of clinics that offer a full range of birth control (including long acting reproductive contraceptives such as IUDs), increase knowledge about contraception and how to access it, and to mobilize the community to support access throughout eastern Kentucky. We have a growing steering committee of local health care providers and community stake holders to help direct the project and connect the work within their home and communities.

The role of AMI and Making Connections is to create and amplify stories that reveal the gaps and opportunities in local reproductive health care and connect individuals in our region to the care and contraception they need. With an incredible team of youth documentarians, we are working to create compelling multimedia pieces that break down the stigma surrounding reproductive healthcare and birth control.  

On Wednesday, November 15th, we teamed up with our partners at the National Campaign to help celebrate the national day of #ThxBirthControl.  Along with outlets like Bedsider and Refinery 29, our Fellows participated in a nationwide twitter chat that you can follow and read by searching on twitter using the hashtags #ThxBirthControl and #R29xBedsider.  We also observed the day by creating a video and radio PSA to celebrate the reason why family planning and healthy periods have been made possible. 

We are currently building our new website, but until then you can check us out on Facebook by searching All Access EKY or follow us on twitter at @allaccesseky.  If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our steering committee please email us at or contact AMI's All Access EKY Director, Willa Johnson, at 

All Access EKY is made possible through the generous support of the Educational Foundation of America

AMI Wins Big at the 2017 Boone Film Festival!

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Appalachian Media Institute youth filmmakers Aaron Combs and Oliver Baker won first prize at the Boone Film Festival’s Youth Film Series for their documentary Justice For All, which tells the story of community perceptions of the Black Lives Matter movement in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, shining a light on the realities of racial justice in a rural, predominantly white community.

Congratulations to our 2016 interns! Click here to watch the full documentary. 

Announcing Oakley Fugate's Fellowship!

Photograph provided by Oakley Fugate

Photograph provided by Oakley Fugate

The Appalachian Media Institute is proud to share exciting news about one of our favorite filmmakers! Oakley Fugate, long-term AMI intern, Peer Trainer, Photographer & Filmmaker was recently selected as one of Open Society Foundations’ Youth Exchange Fellows!

The Youth Exchange Community Fellowship supports dynamic activists aged 18-25 who want to implement a project of their own design that advances human rights in their home communities. Through these fellowships, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) aims to provide young people at the early stage of their work with the support they need to develop great ideas that contribute to dismantle challenges in their communities and advance the values of an open society.

Over the next 18 months, Oakley is receiving a full-time stipend with benefits to produce a feature length documentary about the experiences of LGBT-Q  youth growing up in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. He will also be working alongside Dustin Hall to create a safe space for LGBT-Q youth to convene, share resources, host film screenings and events.

To initiate his exciting new fellowship, OSF flew Oakley and Dustin to Detroit for an orientation with a group of fellows from across the country to share insights, experiences and expertise before they each endeavor on their new projects.

During the application process, Oakley submitted a film he produced during the Appalachian Media Institute’s 2016 Summer Documentary Institute, entitled Not a Daughter. Reflecting on this exciting new opportunity, Oakley shared:

My name is Oakley Fugate. I was born in Whitesburg, Kentucky and have lived in Blackey, Kentucky most of my life. I’ve been making films since I was 12 and it has always felt like something I wanted to do with my life. I bought a $20 camera that could shoot 15 seconds of video and have worked my way up from there. For the most part, I make horror films. It’s what inspired me and is easily the funnest thing to do. I’ve worked on numerous documentaries and eventually made my own about what’s it like to grow up in your home never feeling like you belong.

Though I always wanted to do big elaborate productions, I believe in just filming. Many wait for the right gear or the right moment, but nine times out of ten, I saw to just film. Go out and do it! I have grown a lot as I’ve gone through the Appalachian Media Institute over the years. I’ve learned how to properly edit and create videos.

I’ve always enjoyed films about the underdog. Kids standing up for their rights at school, miners standing together against exploitation, etc. AMI youth interns have made films that are more genuine than most documentaries I’ve seen and I think it’s because they’re often the ones affected by the issues they’re addressing.

I’ve always been an advocate for human rights and have wanted to make a film about LGBT-Q rights. When I was in high school, there was no such thing as coming out. If you did, kids would harrass you and teachers would turn a blind eye. I have seen blatant discrimination, which hits home for me. I was often picked on for having Aspergers. A teacher openly called me an offensive term and mocked me. What do you do when that happens? Anyone who opposes others for standing for their right has never been in a position where they had to be defenseless while someone with power treated them as subhuman. For this reason, I always admired two of AMI’s documentaries about LGBT-Q rights A Little Piece of Me and Beyond Me. While speaking with my friend Dustin Hall, he told me that “no piece I’m in has told the story I wanted them to tell”. It hit me that I could tell that story by focusing on one person’s experience and allowing them to speak without asking questions or cutting out parts of their narrative. So I made Not a Daughter

After the film was made I thought it would go on a shelf and be forgotten about, but something happened. A week later I met a man on the street and he praised the film. Then I was invited to screen the film for educators at a conference in Denver, Colorado. I felt honored that people loved this film and that it made a positive impact on the lives of my community members. I felt that I had made a documentary that hit its mark and it gave me a desire to make more films focused deeply on the stories of people I care about. 

I heard about the Open Society Foundations’ fellowship through AMI and applied after some convincing. It was a dream come true but I didn’t think it was possible for me to get it. It seemed too gigantic. I was told that it never hurts to try, so I tried. When I made it into the second round I thought, “at least I could say I made it that far”. Then they requested an interview and I was more nervous than I had ever been. After months of waiting and anxiety, I got picked.

I am so excited for this project. Not only will I get to make a film for 18 months, but I will get to work with my friends to open a safe space for LGBT-Q youth that will make an important change in my community. I’d love for any LGBT-Q+ identifying youth to get involved!

Over the coming months we will be sharing information on how to get involved in the LGBT-Q+ safe space and will be hosting community input sessions. Please stay tuned for information and look out for Oakley’s forthcoming documentary!

Sharing the 29th Annual Summer Documentary Institute!

AMI at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

AMI at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

The Appalachian Media Institute (AMI), Appalshop’s award-winning youth media program, is proud to share the powerful work of our 2017 cohort of Summer Documentary Institute interns. 

Each summer for the past 29 years, the Summer Documentary Institute (SDI) has invited central Appalachian youth aged 14-22 to engage in place-based education, documentary media-making and creative youth development at Appalshop. The SDI provides a nurturing environment for youth people to explore the ways media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities. 

Throughout June & July, our 2017 youth interns and peer trainers participated in daily workshops in the Boone building– Appalshop’s digital classroom and youth space. During this time we participated in our second annual partnership with Carnegie Museum of Art, which provided us with the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to learn about the city’s various models of community-based arts with the museum as their classroom. 

The 2017 Institute provided our youth interns with the opportunity to engage deeply in the assets and possibilities contained within their home region, through workshops with local partners and community-based film assignments that highlighted regional arts and culture. 

You can view the final productions of our 2017 Summer Documentary Institute below:

An Elaborate Dream is a documentary by Lauren Rose, Jaydon Tolliver, Benjamin-Whaley Jones and Shaylan Clark that tells the story of the impacts of black lung disease on coal miners in eastern Kentucky. During recent months, lawmakers have tried to block funding for black lung treatments and benefits. This film hopes to bring awareness to a disease that has went unnoticed on a national scale. Viewers will experience the challenges that victims and their families face, along with insights from professionals in the field.

Jaydon Tolliver, a 2016 & 2017 SDI intern reflected on his piece Dying Breed: 

Black Lung is a very unspoken issue on a national level. Growing up in a coal family, I seen the issue first hand with my grandpa and his brothers. Three of the filmmakers on my crew have family impacted by black lung, and have watched them struggle trying to fight for their benefits. We made this film to bring awareness to this problem, and hope to expand the reaches of this documentary to show that there is a problem that isn’t being handled. 

An Elaborate Dream is a documentary by Kirstin Baum and Dusty Kiser that focuses on the life of Oakley Fugate. Fugate is a filmmaker who grew up in Eastern Kentucky and is dedicated to making movies in his home region. With a diversity of styles from his slasher movies to documentaries on school issues in the Appalachian community, Fugate is someone doing what he loves– inspiring and inviting others to do the same.

It Goes Unspoken is a documentary by Hannah Adams and Skylar Griffith that illuminates the role that Appalachian women play as the backbones of their communities. They carry households on their shoulders, provide life and shelter, all while attempting to live up to high expectations of who they are expected to be. This film sheds light on the unseen labor women perform every day and their demand for recognition.

The 2017 Summer Documentary Institute was made possible through the generous support of our partners at PhotoWings, Carnegie Museum of Art, Appalshop’s Production & Education Fund and The Alliance for Media Arts and Culture.

We’re also proud to share exciting recent press featuring alumnus of our Summer Documentary Institute:

Shaylan Clark (co-producer of Dying Breed, 2017) was interviewed in this important Washington Post piece: African Americans in Appalachia Fight to be Seen as Part of Coal Country.

Dusty Kiser, (co-producer of An Elaborate Dream, 2017) was featured in this SWVA Today article about his experience at AMI: Dusty the Documentarian

Dustin Hall (co-producer of The Lonely Thing, 2015) was featured on this video series by the New York Times: What Does America Stand For? 

Lauren Rose (co-producer of Dying Breed, 2017) was featured in this New York Times article: Reflections on Summer Jobs 

Lastly, our 2016 Summer Documentary Institute films were featured in the Oxford American with new interviews produced by filmmaker Jordan Freeman, thanks to the support of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.

To support the Summer Documentary Institute or to donate to our weekly youth drop-in center, please click here.

Welcoming the Interns of the 2017 Summer Documentary Institute!

Lead Educator Mikie Burke and 2016 SDI Intern Elyssia Lowe

Lead Educator Mikie Burke and 2016 SDI Intern Elyssia Lowe

We are proud to announce the interns of the 2017 Summer Documentary Institute! It was a highly competitive year with over 45 regional applicants representing youth of all backgrounds and experience levels in media making, production and visual arts. 

Please join us in welcoming Skylar Griffith, Lauren Rose, Shaylan Clark, Kirstin Baum, Benjamin Whaley-Jones, Jaydon Tolliver, Zoe Brookshire-Risley, Dusty Walker Kiser, Hannah Rose Adams and David Matthew Mullins, and our returning peer trainers Kyra Higgins and Tristin Cunniff.  

Skylar Griffith is a 16 year old student from Letcher County, Kentucky.  She is a returning intern who completed the Summer Documentary Institute in 2015. In addition to having great style, Skylar is a gifted musician who plays several instruments.

Lauren Rose is a 19 year old from Letcher County, Kentucky. She is currently a Sophomore in college at the University of Pikeville, where she is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Political Science and History.

Shaylan Clark is a 20 year old from Lynch, Kentucky. She is currently a Sophomore at Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College and a performer in the Higher Ground Community Theater Project in Harlan County. 

Kirstin Baum is a 17 year old from Knott County, Kentucky. Kirstin is a 2017 Knott County Central graduate who hopes to attend Morehead State University in the fall. Kirstin loves reading, writing, and video games “maybe a little too much.”

Benjamin Whaley-Jones is a 18 year old from Berea, Kentucky. He is part of the 2017 graduating class for Model Laboratory School in Richmond, Kentucky and is a cartoonist and writer.

Jaydon Tolliver, is also a returning SDI intern. Jaydon is a history buff who looks forward to growing his media skills this upcoming summer.

Zoe Brookshire-Risley is a 16 year old from Knoxville, TN. She has attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and hopes to pursue a college degree in film production.

Dusty Walker Kiser is a 19 year old from Bluefield, Virginia. He is completing his General Studies Degree at the Wytheville Community College in VA and is interested in learning his family’s history in the region, including his grandmother who worked as an underground coal miner.

Hannah Rose Adams is an 18 year old from Letcher County, Kentucky. She is a graduating senior at Letcher County Central and has worked as a student media content creator for The Holler.

David Matthew Mullins is a 17 year old from Knott County, Kentucky. He is a Knott County Area Technology Center student who has been learning coding and computer science. David hopes to develop skills with photography and digital filmmaking. 

The 29th annual Summer Documentary Institute begins on June 2nd during Appalshop’s annual Seedtime on the Cumberland Festival.

Announcing the 2017 Summer Documentary Institute


The 2017 Summer Documentary Institute at Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute

We are excited to announce our 29th annual Summer Documentary Institute!

Since 1988, the Appalachian Media Institute has provided opportunities for young people from central Appalachia to explore their communities and develop their creative skills through the arts and media. Over the course of the summer youth explore the basics of video and audio production, view and discuss documentary media, and learn how to produce and distribute meaningful media about community issues and traditions. 

2017 is a pivotal year for central Appalachia as we transition from the extraction of fossil fuels towards the building of a new regional economy. The 2017 Summer Documentary Institute will build upon AMI’s tradition of innovative media training with our annual 8-week program that utilizes documentary storytelling as a means to explore, produce and share youth-led visions for central Appalachia’s future. Youth interns will experience a broad range of workshops on media production, including podcasting, media campaign strategy, digital film-making, photography and web-based storytelling taught by regional artists. 


Since 1988, the Appalachian Media Institute has provided opportunities for young people from Central Appalachia to explore their communities and develop their creative skills through the arts and media.

This summer we will hold our 29th annual Summer Documentary Institute (SDI).  Up to 10 applicants will be chosen from the region to work intensively with AMI and Appalshop staff.  Over the course of the summer we will explore the basics of video and audio production, view and discuss documentary video, and learn how to produce and distribute meaningful media about community issues and traditions.

The documentary work produced during our summer institute has been seen by audiences from across the United States, and abroad.  Some films have even been translated into other languages for international audiences, and many of these pieces have made a real difference in the dialogues and debates surrounding issues such as domestic violence, prejudice, drug abuse, and youth activism.

Working with AMI during the summer can be both a challenging and rewarding experience.  It is important that you are interested in exploring your creativity through media making.  You must 1) be a responsible AMI/Appalshop employee by upholding the policies and spirit of the program and organization and 2) be willing to learn from and share with others. 

Since 1969, Appalshop has used media and the arts to work with communities to create positive social change; dispel cultural stereotypes; build opportunities for people to define their own history and culture; create a public space where people can come together to discuss their concerns; and find common ground and pursue solutions. 

To learn more about AMI and Appalshop check out our website www.ami.appalshop or call Kate Fowler, at 606.633.0108.


AMI requirements are minimal.  Simply, interns must be between ages 14 and 22 and capable of behaving, thriving, and interacting in a diverse and professional environment with a mature attitude.  Prior experience with media is neither expected, nor required – only a creative mindset with a willingness to learn and do the work.

College credit:

In addition to SDI being a paid internship, eligible interns who are at least a Junior in high school have the opportunity to earn THREE college credit hours in video production through Southeast Community and Technical Colleges (SCTC).  This opportunity comes as an added benefit for participants of the program, at no cost to the individual.

AMI Plan and Policies:

Program Length:

The program will run for eight weeks total, beginning on June 1st and ending on July 23rd.  During this time we will be meeting Monday through Friday, from 9:30am to 5:30pm, with an hour break each day for lunch.  There will be two weekend trips to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the 8-week period. Occasionally, we will utilize days with team-building exercises devoted to activities or field trips.  As with any other professional environment, evening work may be required to meet a production deadline.  Because the Institute will demand your time and focus, other commitments during the week must be secondary to the program – including, but not limited to, other jobs, sports, classes, vacations, et cetera.


All interns will receive a bi-weekly stipend for their work at a rate of $320/week.  This is taxable income.  Interns are expected to arrive promptly each day prepared to work.  Tardiness, absence, or lack of effort may result in suspension or proration of pay.

Transportation and Housing:     

Transportation will be provided for those with need, typically by Appalshop staff, but occasionally from other interns or services such as LKLP.  A liability release will be required of all accepted interns.

Interns living more than an hour away will be provided housing, with meals (excluding lunch) via the Appalshop Casa. An in-house supervisor will live on the property for the entirety of this program.  As this location is also considered Appalshop property, all AMI/Appalshop policies will apply.


Because AMI serves as a positive model for young people in the community, interns will not be allowed to use tobacco products, consume alcohol, or take unauthorized drugs on the premises of Appalshop or while you are working as an intern in the community.

Download Application Here:
AMI 2017 Application

Appalshop and AMI do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference, or disability. Interns will be held to the same standard.

AMI interns are considered employees and representatives of Appalshop. Failure to adhere to AMI/Appalshop policies or expectations may result in suspension of pay or dismissal from the program. If you have any questions or require further clarification, feel free to contact Kate Fowler via email ( or phone (606.633.0108).

Applications are due at Appalshop by 5pm Monday, March 20th. Digital applications may be e-mailed to or uploaded to the “Apply” section of our website.  Physical applications may be hand delivered or sent to: 

AMI / Appalshop

ATTN: Kate

91 Madison Ave

Whitesburg, KY 41858

FAX: 606.633.1009

You will receive a letter or phone call informing you of your application status by no later than Friday, March 24th.  Personal interviews with finalist candidates will take place prior to a final decision.  Interviews will take place April 22nd – May 7th and may be scheduled at your convenience.  Final decisions will be made by no later than May 10th.





Are you looking to get into a High-Tech job in eastern Kentucky? Don’t know how to get there?

Appalshop, Inc. and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College have developed two Accelerated Certificates to meet the current needs of local employers. We are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications to go through our collaborative technology training program, Mines to Minds. Our partnering employers are growing and have potential employment opportunities available for students going through these Accelerated Certificates. That means there are jobs waiting for you to go through Mines to Minds.

The two Accelerated Certificate options include Systems Administration (IT Networking and Support) and Multimedia Design and Implementation (Designing, Creating, marketing, and branding using High Tech Creative Software tools and websites). If either of these certificates spark an interest with you, please sign up here.

You will spend the Spring semester, January-May, taking courses (both online and in person) at the Cumberland Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. After completion of the semester, you may be eligible for a paid apprenticeship with a local employer. Your education continues from the classroom to hands-on while on-the-job. These employers are growing and looking to offer employment opportunities to their successful students.

Appalshop, Inc. and Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for Mines to Minds. Please fill out this application before January 5th, 2017 to be considered for this great opportunity. We will help you through the details of enrolling at SKCTC and being trained to work with local employers and their technology needs.

Contact Shawn Lind at Appalshop with any questions you may have at 606-633-0108 or