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Mountain Talk: A Community Forum Looks to Wales for New Ideas for Appalachia’s Economy

Mountain Talk: A Community Forum Looks to Wales for New Ideas for Appalachia’s Economy

In this edition of Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly community conversation, we bring you excerpts from a community forum which took place on Tuesday, October 7th in the Appalshop Theater.

The forum was convened to present both local and international perspectives on new economic possibilities for the central Appalachian coalfields.  Specifically, the coalfields of south Wales shut down abruptly thirty years ago, which forced communities there to diversify their economies.  As coal employment continues to decline in Appalachia, and with many experts saying that coal jobs are not likely to rebound, some see Wales as a possible model for what new economies could be built in Appalachia.

The forum featured Hywel Francis,  a labor historian and a Member of Parliament from the Aberavon region; his wife Mair Francis, founder of the D.O.V.E. workshop, a woman-run education center considered by many to be an international model for community development; Evan Smith, an attorney with the Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center, a non-profit law firm in Whitesburg, Ky.; and Robin Gabbard, Associate Executive Director at the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky.  Voices of community members who attended can also be heard in the Q&A portion of the broadcast, including the perspective of renowned Appalachian scholar Helen Lewis.

Mountain Talk, WMMT’s weekly conversation, airs each Monday & Wednesday at 6 p.m. To hear previous episodes, check out the Mountain Talk archives, or the archives for What’s Cookin’ Now!, which airs on the first Wednesday of every month.

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