WVa University to host Appalachian Studies Conference

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia University is hosting a conference this week devoted to the study and promotion of the Appalachian region.

The 45th annual Appalachian Studies Conference, “Making, Creating and Encoding: Crafting Possibilities in Appalachia” is taking place from Thursday to Sunday. The event will feature craftivism, podcasting and hip-hop performances.

Travis Stimeling, West Virginia University professor of musicology and one of the conference organizers, said this will be the first time the University has hosted the conference since 1995.

“Historically, the conference is where activists, scholars and creative people get together to share interesting things they’ve done and vibe off each others’ work,” Stimeling said in a press release “Here we’ll have a mix of folks who code, as well as do old-school arts and crafts. We’ll have presentations on topical matters such as public health, education and how arts raise aware of social justice issues.”

The keynote speaker for the four-day conference will be Deesha Philyaw, whose debut short story collection, “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” is being turned into an HBO Max series. The book was published by West Virginia University Press. Philyaw will speak Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Canady Creative Arts Center.

Around 800 participants are expected.