Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Feedback from Appalachia

With our studio complete and the preliminary layout down on paper, this past month we bees started putting pen to paper. Once lines were flowing and scenes started to develop, many of the difficult questions about representation and appropriation of Appalachian culture that have been brewing in the back of our head came front and center. How do you respectfully represent other people's stories and history?

In an attempt to gain more perspectives on this question, our Campaign Coordinator Bee made a mad dash from Maine back to Appalachia for a series of jam packed feedback sessions on the storyboard we've developed and our preliminary sketches. In a whirlwind five days, our 'lil bee met with some amazing First Nation organizations in Tennessee (the Wisdom Keepers and the Traditional Native Survival and Cultural Center), interns at the Appalachian Media Institute and Appalshop, and elders from the Clearfork Community Institute. She even had a chance to stop in at the Mountain Keepers Festival on top of Kayford Mountain.

Although short, these sessions were an informative part on our process, as it was the first step in returning the graphics back to the communities who helped form them. In general, the feedback was simultaneously encouraging and daunting. Although we answered some of our more obvious questions and folks were excited to see the first images, we were again reminded of what a complicated story we are trying to tell and how many different voices there are in the picture.

And so, with more information and more questions we return to the studio... >

No comments: