Hansell and Beaver in Wales Documenting "After Coal" Project

BBC Radio's Frank Hennessey, host of Celtic Heartbeat
Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 10:41am

 June 16, 2013.  Cardiff, Wales, UK

ASU faculty featured on BBC Radio Wales


Two faculty from the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University were interviewed on BBC Radio Wales about a 40 year exchange between coal mining regions of South Wales and Central Appalachia.


Dr. Patricia Beaver and Tom Hansell are developing a documentary and community engagement project titled After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities. They were invited into the BBC Radio Wales studios by  Frank Hennessy, host of the Celtic Heartbeat programme.  Their interview discussed coal, culture, and the soundtrack of the After Coal documentary.  You can listen to the interview by visiting the BBC Radio Wales website and toggling to the 1:09:50 mark of the June 16 episode. The episode will be available online until June 23, 2013.


After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities explores how two mining cultures are facing the challenge of their dependence on fossil fuels.  The project explores questions of sustainability, including: what happens when fossil fuels run out? How do resource rich regions transition from their historic dependence on fossil fuels, while sustaining the communities and cultures those fuels helped build? And, how can lessons from these areas speak to other resource dependent regions throughout the globe?


The roots of After Coal reach to 1974, when political sociologist Dr. John Gaventa initiated a videotape exchange between coal miners in Wales and Appalachia.  This exchange quickly grew to include Dr. Helen Lewis and others from Appalachia.  The Center for Appalachian Studies helped host a delegation of Welsh miners in 1979.  In 2001, the Center for Appalachian Studies established a study abroad program in Wales, and the After Coal project is the latest phase of this long term exchange.


The social, economic, and environmental challenges to Wales and Appalachia in recent decades are at times tragically similar. The coalfields throughout the UK were shut down in the 1980’s, eliminating more than 85,000 jobs.  Meanwhile, the Appalachian coalfields lost over 70,000 mining jobs between 1980 and 2000 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and employment continues to decline.  For more than a quarter century Wales has experimented with cultural, economic, and environmental strategies to rebuild communities. After Coal will reflect on what the Welsh experience after coal means for Appalachian communities that are facing their last generation of mining.


The After Coal project is sponsored by the Center for Appalachian Studies and has received funding from the Board of Trustees Travel Grant, The Office of International Education and Development, and the West Virginia Humanities Council.


For more information contact: Tom Hansell hansellts@appstate.edu 828-262-7730

After Coal

Patricia Beaver, producer and Tom Hansell, director of After Coal documentary being interviewed by Frank Hennessey, BBC Radio's host of Celtic Heartbeat


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