Re-stitching the Seams: Appalachia Beyond Its Borders
The Urban Appalachian Community Coalition is honored to serve as host for the 41st Annual Appalachian Studies Association Conference: Re-stitching the Seams: Appalachia Beyond Its Borders, to be held in downtown Cincinnati at the Millennium and Hyatt Hotels, April 5-8, 2018. Click here for the Preliminary Program.
More than 1,000 local, national, and international leaders, scholars, educators, service providers, activists, advocates, artists and others hailing from more than 40 states will convene in Cincinnati for a coordinated effort to address the issues faced by Appalachians throughout the country, with a particular emphasis on themes of: Diversity and Inclusion, Economic Development, Education, Environmental Sustainability, Health, and Migration. Read more on our Conference Themes page.
Conference activities include:
- Over 200 sessions of conference presentations, plus workshops and educational tours throughout the Greater Cincinnati area and beyond;
- Exhibit room with organization and publisher displays and a silent auction;
- Evening entertainment in downtown and Over-the-Rhine, including an Urban Appalachian Showcase Saturday night at the Aronoff Center and Community Entertainment Events featuring music, literature, and dance throughout the weekend; and
- A free pre-conference on Thursday, April 5, Walking the Road to Health Together: Private, Nonprofit and Community Partnerships.
We hope to stitch together the diverse voices and minds of community members, activists, artists, youth, and researchers to provide a richly textured and colorful fabric of ideas, plans, workable solutions, and support as we move forward in the 21st century.
The Urban Appalachian Community Coalition is the first community organization to host the conference, meaning that we are operating without the organizational infrastructure that a university would provide. Interact for Health joins the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition as lead sponsors for the conference. Community members are invited and encouraged to join us in preparing for this conference, starting now and leading up to April 2018. We welcome your involvement!
- Attend the conference. Register by March 9 to receive the pre-conference rate. Scholarship Deadline is February 23.
- Register for Free Community Day, Saturday, April 7. Greater Cincinnati residents can attend all daytime activities for free. Registration due March 26.
- Attend the free workshop preceding the conference on Thursday, April 5, “Walking the Road to Health Together: Private, Nonprofit, and Community Partnerships.”
- Attend the series of free music, film, and literary Community Entertainment Events held in downtown and Over the Rhine locations throughout the Conference, April 5-7, 2018.
- Attend the Urban Appalachian Showcase, 7:30 – 9:30 PM, Saturday, April 7 at the Aronoff Center, Jarson-Kaplan Theater, 650 Walnut Street. The showcase features urban Appalachian writers, singers, musicians, and spoken word artists including bluegrass legend, writer, and radio personality Katie Laur.
- Become a conference volunteer
- Receive notices of community events and conference updates sign up by clicking Subscribe
- Join the conversation on Facebook
- Become a Sponsor
Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, is not a place typically included in public discourse on Appalachia because it does not fall within the Appalachian Regional Commission’s defined borders of Appalachia. However, some 40% of metro area its residents report some degree of Appalachian family heritage. For over fifty years there have been organized efforts to advocate for and celebrate the presence of this urban Appalachian community. When the Urban Appalachian Council (UAC) closed its doors in 2014, the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition (UACC) emerged as an organizational structure through which urban Appalachians in the Cincinnati region can continue to build mutual support, promote awareness of urban Appalachian people’s contributions, and take action to address common concerns.
Providing leadership for the conference is a groundbreaking opportunity for the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition. 2018 marks the first time in more than a decade that the Appalachian Studies Association Conference is held outside the official borders of Appalachia and the first time in conference history that it is hosted by a community organization rather than academic institution. As we move beyond the third generation of Appalachians living in Cincinnati and other urban migrant centers, and as cities within the region’s traditional boundaries continue to grow, what it means to be Appalachian is evolving to encompass these communities, as well as rural areas and small towns. The 2018 conference seeks to stake the Cincinnati region’s claim to a role in this conversation. We hope to bring our wisdom and experience to bear on issues that affect the wellness of the Appalachian population in this region and beyond.
Restitching the Seams
As we extend an invitation to this conference to the region and our community, we are aware that we are dwelling in a borderland between the known and unknown in our nation. The theme for the 2018 conference resonates deeply on many levels.
- A common heritage. While most of the greater Cincinnati area sits just outside the formal Appalachian Region, the population is strongly connected to Appalachia through generations of family histories and strong personal and business ties, as well as common interests and values. This conference will allow us to reaffirm those important connections.
- Common concerns. The immensely complex issues of health, education, environmental sustainability, economic self-sufficiency, diversity, inclusion, and migration, affect urban and rural Appalachians in different ways, but are common to us all. This conference will allow us to listen to and learn from each other as we seek workable and creative solutions.
- A need for dialogue. The deep fissures in our country’s political and social fabric are painful to all of us, but perhaps are experienced most poignantly in Appalachia where the contrasts seem to be so stark. This conference will provide a forum for listening to each other across some of these difficult divides.
Involving the Greater Cincinnati Community
Community is at the heart of the 2018 Appalachian Studies Association Conference, with all contributing their own experiences, talents, skills, and/or research. Participation from greater Cincinnatians is an essential to our goal of showcasing our Urban Appalachian community, particularly its significance in advocacy and in the arts. Bringing the ASA Conference to Cincinnati presents an unparalleled opportunity to:
- Engage in results-oriented dialogue about the issues that most directly affect Appalachians,
- Celebrate the many diverse heritages of Appalachian peoples in greater Cincinnati and the region.
We are actively soliciting the involvement of regional advocacy and support organizations, local sponsors and all members of the Appalachian community, including educators, service providers, artists and community leaders.
Contact Us for more information or to become involved. We hope to see you soon.