“AppalachA’ville” – 42nd Annual Appalachian Studies Conference Starts March 14 at UNC Asheville

Wiley Cash, Ron Rash and Lee Smith(from left) Wiley Cash, Ron Rash and Lee Smith
January 25, 2019

The 42nd annual Appalachian Studies Conference will return to Asheville for the first time in 27 years with “AppalachA’ville: Engage. Sustain. Innovate,” at UNC Asheville from March 14-17, 2019. Co-hosted by UNC Asheville and Mars Hill University, the conference will include plenary sessions and panels for registrants only, as well as numerous public events on Saturday, March 16, including a keynote address by award-winning Appalachian fiction writers Lee Smith, Ron Rash and Wiley Cash.

The conference will cover a wide variety of topics that relate to various aspects of life in Appalachia, including sacred spaces for Cherokee and Appalachian people, and forging international connections in mountain communities around the world. A full-conference registration is $150 before February 25; $185 at the conference. Student registration is $100 before February 25; $135 at the conference. Registration is available online at appalachianstudies.org/annualconference.

The following events on Saturday, March 16 are free and open to the public, with no registration required:

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Screening and Discussion of hillbilly, at the Reuter Center on campus. hillbilly is a 2018 award-winning documentary directed by Ashley York and Sally Rubin. A discussion led by best-selling Southern author and commentator Silas House, will follow the screening. Some of the people in the documentary will be available to take questions.

12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Innovation Expo, Highsmith Student Union. The Innovation Expo, supported by the North Carolina Humanities Council, will feature a selection of area organizations and businesses that illustrate how people come together to identify needs, solve problems, build community, and strengthen the local economy. These organizations and businesses have been successful in engaging with communities in an inclusive and supportive way; sustaining our cultural roots, environmental resources, and values; innovating in ways that enhance and improve the life of the region. And they are ready to share ideas with you in the halls of Highsmith on Saturday afternoon.

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Keynote Address in Lipinsky Hall, with overflow seating in the Reuter Center. Western North Carolina in Fact and Fiction: Words from Lee Smith, Ron Rash and Wiley Cash. Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author and UNC Asheville’s Writer-in-Residence moderates this conversation with award-winning writers of Southern Appalachian fiction, Lee Smith—well known story teller and author of 18 books — and Ron Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University and author of 22 books. The keynote is supported by the North Carolina Humanities Council.

8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Poetry Reading at the YMI Cultural Center in downtown Asheville, Affrilachia y el Caribe with three poets: Ricardo Nazario y Colón, Shauna M. Morgan, and Frank X Walker. Affrilachia and the “AppalachA’ville” Conference will come together on Saturday night in the historic YMI Cultural Center for an evening of poetry reading, storytelling, and fellowship — a celebration of cultural diversity in Asheville and throughout the region.

9:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Old-Time Square Dance at the YMI Cultural Center, downtown Asheville. Everyone is welcome. The host caller will be Phil Jamison, director of Warren Wilson College’s Traditional Music Program, and the host band will be the Warren Wilson College Old-Time Ensemble. The evening will also include a guest performance by the Green Grass Cloggers.

For more information and to register, visit appalachianstudies.org/annualconference.