“Media in the mountains: How digital storytelling captures lives and creates community in Appalachia”

Scholars across disciplines have looked at the impact of community-driven digital storytelling on individuals and communities (Berry, Selfe, & Hawisher, 2012; Fisher & Smith, 2012; Lambert, 2013; Pleasants & Salter, 2014), noting their power to not just impact outside audiences, but also to transform and empower individuals. This presentation shares current research on the ways access to digital tools and spaces impacted community storytellers involved with the interactive participatory documentary, Hollow. Sharing media and insight from community storytellers located in McDowell County, West Virginia, the presentation seeks to involve and inform those interested in spearheading similar community-driven media initiatives in Appalachian communities. Specific strategies and best practices gauged from the community storytellers and the director of the Hollow project shed valuable insight on how applications of digital storytelling and the acquisition of digital literacies can be empowering for individuals and lead to tangible change in communities.