Appalachian Media Institute's Digital Citizenship Lab
Appalshop's Appalachian Media Institute (AMI) is a media training and leadership development program for central Appalachian youth. Using the technological and artistic resources of Appalshop, AMI helps young people explore how media production skills can be used to ask, and begin to answer, critical questions about themselves and their communities. In its 25th year, AMI has developed a reputation as one of the few organizations bringing rural youth's voices to the national table. Having worked intensively with over 1,000 youth interns from our region, AMI has helped develop the skills and critical thinking abilities necessary to begin creating sustainable futures for our communities.
This August, AMI will host a month-long production lab with youth interns, aged 14-22, from southeastern Kentucky counties. Located in Whitesburg, KY, AMI will provide equipment, training, and mentorship to rural interns that want to explore the realities of limited broadband access in the coalfields. In particular, youth interns will create multi-media pieces that look more closely at the educational and economic impacts we face by our lack of high-speed Internet availability.
Recently a federal report by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration stated that only 23% of rural areas had wirelines that download at 50Mbps or greater. With this in mind, youth will explore the following questions: Who is most affected by the lack of high-speed Internet? What kind of infrastructure or policies do we need to increase broadband availability? How does the Internet affect the way we experience our communities or not? How could high-speed Internet create a more connected community? What can one do to ensure an equitable web for all youth regardless of geographic location?
The month of July will serve as a period for recruitment, curriculum preparation, and staff planning. Although we will be reaching out to alumni from previous AMI programs, all participants must go through an application and interview process before being accepted into the program. A curriculum draft will be developed at this time, with a finalized curriculum developed after the selection process. This final curriculum will be attenuated to the skillset of accepted interns but be based in our 25 years of production lab lesson plans.
The program will run for four weeks in the month of August. During the first week we will be holding workshops and exercises to review equipment usage and enhance the skills of our advanced interns. In addition, we will view and discuss relevant media, further acquaint young people with current events and legislation concerning broadband access, as well as determine individual interest, focus areas, and creating project plans. The following 3 weeks will be primarily production and postproduction, with advanced workshops provided to address individual need. On August 30th, the last day of the program, we will host a community screening open to the public for review and discussion.
For the entirety of the project, a staff mentor will be assigned to participants based on expertise.
July 15th – 19th:
Applications accepted and interviews held. Curriculum draft developed.
Interns notified of acceptance into lab.
August 5th – 9th:
Review equipment use, view and listen to relevant media, learn about current state and federal legislation, determine focus areas and potential interviews
August 12th – 16th:
Finalize interview questions, set up interview times, collect media (audio, video, photographs), work with staff mentor for initial feedback
August 19th – 23rd:
Continue to collect media, begin postproduction work, receive feedback from cohort, additional feedback from staff mentor, record narration if needed
August 26th – 30th:
Final editing, community screening