Film explores life after coal in Appalachia

The Welsh village of Aberfan, near Merthyr Tydfil, where a colliery spoil tip collapse in 1966 killed 116 children and 28 adults. It was caused by a build-up of water in the accumulated rock and shale, which suddenly started to slide downhill in the form of slurry.

Documentarian Tom Hansell will present his latest film, "After Coal," at 7 p.m., Sept. 24, in Heth 43 on Radford University's campus.

Hansell's documentary essay explores the Welsh and Appalachian experiences with coal, profiling inspiring individuals who are creating a new future for these hard hit communities.

The event is sponsored by The Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center.

Throughout the film, viewers will meet former miners who are using theater to rebuild community infrastructure and spirit, women who moved from supporting striking miners to creating their own future, and young people striving to stay in their home communities.

Music and language specific to each culture underscore stories of tragedy laced with hope, revealing the uncommon strength that has allowed these two cultures to survive in the harshest of conditions.

"Comparing the Welsh and Appalachian experiences with coal will help individuals see a future beyond fossil fuels," Hansell said.

Radford University's Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center provides students with an understanding of the heritage, environment and cultures of the Appalachian region.

To learn more about the event, contact Appalachian Studies Director Theresa Burriss at (540) 831-6857 or

Sep 14, 2015