The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 14, 2013

"After Coal" documentary to be presented

— Filmmaker Tom Hansell from Appalachian State University will present clips from his documentary in progress, “After Coal: Welsh and Appalachian Mining Communities,” at the SALS Historic Oak Hill School (140 School Street) Oct. 4 at 2 and 7 p.m.  

The screening will begin with documentation of an historic exchange between coal miners in central Appalachia and South Wales from the 1970s, and ending with more recent stories of change in coal mining regions.

During the 1980s, the Welsh coalfields lost 20,000 mining jobs and communities were forced to adapt to a new economy. Hansell will share stories of change in Wales as part of his presentation.

“I started this project to discover how mining communities survive after the industry that has built them has gone,” Hansell says, adding “one thing I've learned is that there are no easy answers.”

Stories of community survival in Wales offer many parallels to southern West Virginia, where thousands of mining jobs have been lost in recent years. The audience is invited to share ideas about how to build a sustainable future in the Appalachian Coalfields.  

This free public screening is sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Labor School.  The overall project is a collaborative partnership that includes SALS, Appalachian State University and the West Virginia Humanities Council.

For more information contact SALS at 304-465-9732 or

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Humanities Council.