MN&WR: Imagining the (Im)Possible Future

  • Fellowship House Summer-Day Camp in Knoxville, TN began in 1950 as a community effort for the area children and existed for more than 20 years as one of the first to be fully racially integrated. 
  • What is the future of education and employment in the mountains?  Some, like UPike professor Bruce Parsons believe it’s technology.  KVEC’s FireShare podcast interviewed Parsons, and he discussed his efforts at envisioning this technological future with The Holler.
  • The newest addition to the “Silicon Holler,” Mountain Tech Media, has launched in Whitesburg, Kentucky and hopes to be one of many new opportunities for employment and business in the region.

Fellowship House Summer-Day Camp, Knoxville, TN

WYMT Photo

Mountain Tech Media CEO Jeremy McQueen – photo by WYMT-TV

This is a mind bending edition of Mountain News & World Report, as we attempt to imagine the (im)possible – a real, just, economic transition for the mountains.  In exploring what it means to have faith in our abilities to create something out of little to nothing, we discovered that this faith is the legacy of our mountain ancestors.  Mountain people have been “making do” since time immemorial, not only to simply survive, but to thrive and find joy in the least obvious of places.  For this episode, we begin in 1950s Knoxville, TN at the Fellowship House Summer-Day Camp, one of the first successful attempts at racially  integrating activities for children.  This effort was dreamed of by community members and brought to fruition by those same people.  WMMT contributor Beth Bingman attended the camp as a child, and brings us this story.

In our second segment, we take a leap into the future with KVEC’s FIREShare podcast producers Willa Johnson and Tanya Turner as they bring us a report on The Holler.  University of Pikeville professor Bruce Parsons details the efforts of The Holler – a website and physical space geared toward opening a dialogue about technology in the region while serving as a tool for those who want to learn to use technology more effectively and develop technological skills as a personal asset.  Those working on The Holler believe ” using technology in this way shows that the people of Central Appalachia can utilize the same tools as those around the world and put it to use for our own purposes and betterment of our own communities.”  As Parsons and other believe, projects like The Holler show that technology could be a real key to our future ability to stay, work, and live in the mountains.

Finally, we feature the launch of the newest player in the coined “Silicon Holler,” – Mountain Tech Media (MTM) in Whitesburg, Kentucky.  MTM is a diversified technology and media services company that prides itself on being a “creative cooperative” by encouraging the professionals working for MTM to own the company they are helping to build.  Companies like MTM hope to be the future employers of these tech savvy mountain folks.  We are actively working together to make the impossible possible.  It is innovation in action.  A true mind expansion from the depths of the deepest night to the light of what will be tomorrow.

Mountain News & World Report is a bi-weekly production of WMMT, and new episodes air every other Thursday at 6pm on WMMT, with a repeat broadcast the following Sunday morning at 10:30.  To listen to previous episodes, check out our streaming archives.

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