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Appalachian Teaching Project

Building a Sustainable Future for Appalachian Communities

In this regional collaboration, 16 Appalachian Studies Centers in 11 states work together in service for the region. ATP seeks to support and encourage student research and interaction among those campuses and constituent communities.

Students propose solutions to community-defined problems and explore ways to meet the needs of these individual communities.

A travel grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), a regional economic development agency, provides funding for students to present their project at three-day event in Washington, DC. Students deliver their research through a group presentation and a poster, discuss community issues and learn to network.

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the Appalachian Teaching Project is to support community-based research and civic entrepreneurship by strengthening educational partnerships among students, faculty, and citizenry in Appalachia.

  1. Students will strengthen leadership skills and awareness of community assets that can foster sustainability.
  2. Students will be engaged as active learners and participants in community projects.
  3. Students will engage in traditional and active research to assist communities in creative approaches to sustainability through asset-based development.

Arts-Based Research

The methodology the Minor in Appalachian Studies uses for the Appalachian Teaching Project is community, arts-based research.

As defined by McNiff, 2007, arts based research is “the systematic use of the artistic process…the actual making of artistic expressions in all of the different forms of the arts, as a primary way of understanding and examining experience by both researchers and the people that they involve in their studies.”



How can we help The Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center increase its digital capacity to reach a new generation, both in Rabun County and beyond?


Students will use archival research and storytelling circles to create a folkloric narrative about planting by the signs. They will then create a Crankie, a nineteenth-century medium featuring a panoramic scene, rolled up inside a box, then hand-cranked so that it scrolls across a viewing screen.

Community Partner

Foxfire Fund Inc.

See the 2016 Project

Scrolling through History: A Moving Panorama as Interpretative Model for The Foxfire Museum in Rabun County, GA


How can we increase public access to heirloom seeds and their stories in north Georgia?


Students created a seed dispensing machine, exhibited previous ATP art, performed readers’ theater and conducted seed related workshops for children and adults.

Community Partner

Chestatee Regional Library

See the 2015 Project

Cultivating Community: Helping Rural Libraries Develop Seed and Story Depositories


How could we help the Dahlonega Farmers Market contribute to a better regional food system in north Georgia?


Students interviewed seed keepers, sourced antique seed catalogs and created a set of broadsides made on an antique letterpress.

Community Partner

Dahlonega Farmers Market

See the 2014 Project

Local Food for Local People: Promoting Food Democracy in Appalachian Georgia


How is seed-saving an act of political resistance?


Students interviewed seed keepers and created a set of garden flags as well as readers theater based on the lives of the seed keeper.

Community Partner

Loganberry Heritage Farms

See the 2013 Project

Heirloom Seed Keepers and their Stories: Growing Community and Sustainability through Arts-based Research (Year Two)


What is the state of heirloom gardening in Lumpkin County?


Students interviewed seed keepers and created a communograph, an artistic representation of seed migration routes in Lumpkin County, Georgia

Community Partner

Dahlonega Farmers Market

See the 2012 Project

Heirloom Seed and Story Keepers: Growing Community and Sustainability through Arts-based Research

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