Our Staff


Kate Fowler, director

Kate Fowler is a documentary filmmaker, photographer and educator from Richmond, Virginia. She is the Director of Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute. Before joining the Appalshop team, Kate worked for the Magnum Foundation as Program Coordinator of their Photography, Expanded initiative. During her time at Magnum Foundation, Kate co-organized and directed educational programming and events on documentary storytelling at the intersection of social justice and technology, including the third annual Photography, Expanded Symposium at Parsons The New School. Previously, Kate co-directed a series of photography workshops throughout Europe and NYC with the Italian school of photography, Spazio Labo’, and has lectured and co-taught workshops at Columbia’s School of Journalism, Virginia Military Institute and at LOOK3: Festival of the Photograph. She holds a BFA in Photography & Filmmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University where she interned at LOOK3 and served as a facilitator during the Tasmeem Design Conference in Doha, Qatar.


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mikie burke, lead educator

Mikie Burke is from McRoberts, KY (MacTown) and has been involved with AMI since 2006. He began in the program as a student intern during the Summer Documentary Institute. Since then, Mikie has worked as an Appalshop Vista, an AMI peer trainer, co-educator and is currently serving as AMI’s lead educator. During his time at Appalshop he has developed a great love for the area and people. Mikie has dedicated most of his life to hosting local shows that bring touring bands to the area. He loves to spend time with his beautiful daughter, play music with numerous bands and create art. He figured that if he was going to stay in his home state he might as well make it better.



Willa johnson, all access eky project director

Willa Johnson is a multimedia producer and youth organizer.  She was raised in McRoberts, KY.  When she was in High School at Fleming Neon, Appalshop offered an after school media club where she was the only student to attend regularly and fell in love with video.  She went on to be an AMI intern in 2007, co founded the Stay Together Appalachian Youth Project in 2008, and general AMI fan girl every year since.  She has worked with the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative as the founder of their youth media program FIREshare, and as an online Content Creator for The Holler.  She now works to organize with young media producers as Fellows for the All Access EKY Project to help tell the stories and help young people gain access to birth control and family planning resources in the region.  She is a foster mom and foster advocate, active member of her church, and amateur baker.



Jaydon Tolliver is an 18 year old documentary filmmaker and zine writer, and a native of Whitesburg, KY. 

Jaydon has been involved with AMI since 2012, participating in two fall labs in 2012 and 2013, and the Summer Documentary Institutes of 2016 and 2017 and is now the AMI/WMMT Americorps VISTA. He has produced 2 films; Go Your Own Way, a film about youth entrepreneurship in the mountains and Dying Breed, A film dedicated to showing the silent epidemic of Black Lung and the impact it has left on Coal miners and their families. 


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Oakley Fugate, Open Society Foundation Fellow at AMI 

Oakley Fugate is filmmaker from Whitesburg, Kentucky who is currently an Open Society Foundation Fellow based at the Appalachian Media Institute.

Oakley has been with the Appalachian Media Institute, having made films about culture in art, veterans from eastern Kentucky, and LGBT rights in the mountains. Oakley is currently hosting a safe space in the Boone Building, where all are welcome and respected.