Front Porch Blog

Seaming together Coal Countries

What connection do Appalachia and Wales share with one another? For starters, coal. Wales has been the sight of large-scale coal mining since the 1800s. With coal dominating the economies of both regions, Appalachia and Wales share long histories of social and political unrest with coal companies and mining.

This weekend, Oct. 14-16, members of Appalachian Voices will be participating in the “Appalachia and Wales: Coal and After Coal” symposium hosted by Appalachian State University. With coal mining dwindling down to one mine by the 1980s, Wales has since been experimenting with economic diversification and the task of regenerating a region controlled by coal mining for hundreds of years.

The relationship formed by the two regions has opened up a door for discussion on how to organize as communities, how to transition economies, and the steps that should be taken to move forward.

Speakers at the conference will discuss the historic, social, and economic ties between the two regions and the various ways that Appalachia can learn from Wales and their progress in diversifying their country’s coal mining areas with what the industry left behind. Both regions also share a strong tie to their local music, art and writing cultures. In that honor, guests are encouraged to attend Friday night’s live music with local Kentucky artist Randy Wilson at 7p.m.

Come learn about the parallels between the two regions this weekend in the Table Rock Room of the Plemmons Student Union. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit:




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