Berea College Director of Digital Storytelling Justin Skeens won three Emmy Awards during last week’s 58th Annual Ohio Valley Regional ceremony in Columbus, Ohio.
Skeens won in all three categories for which he was nominated. Two of those Emmys were for his video titled “A Craft Story: Emerson,” which won in both the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion–Short Form or Long Form Content category and for photography in the Short Form or Long Form Content category. The video, which tells the story of a series of baby blankets designed by a Berea College student to support the College’s 5th and 6th Great Commitments, can be found at https://youtu.be/_1J51K8pBHw. The Diversity/Equity/Inclusion category is new this year, making Berea College the first to win an Emmy in this area.
Skeens also won in the Editor–Short Form Content category for his video “The Birds of America at the Hutchins Library,” which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MAICgEe00o. The video highlights the Berea College Hutchins Library’s collection of John James Audubon books titled “The Birds of North America,” a collection of 14 years of field observations and drawings in books each measuring two feet wide by three feet high, each weighing nearly 60 pounds. The books contain Audubon’s 435 life-sized North American bird paintings. The video was created for the Berea College Trace video series. The books and the case in which they are stored were gifted to Berea College by Ross W. Sloniker and the E.O. Robinson Mountain Fund.
“Justin’s work beautifully and movingly depicts just a sample of the wonderful array of items on the Berea College campus, and we are proud that his work has been recognized by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences,” said Berea College Vice President for Alumni, Communications and Philanthropy Chad Berry. “To create a video about a set of books would be a daunting task for many, but through Justin’s work, these books are brought to life. With these Emmy Award-winning videos–and with all of Justin’s work–we can tell even more richly the stories of Berea College, and of our commitments to serving our students, our community and the world beyond.”
A native of Leslie County, Skeens said he is honored to be recognized for his work depicting Appalachia, the place he calls home.
“People endured my attempts to speak their language with my Appalachian drawl in many places in this world, and I have never felt out of place,” Skeens said. “I credit that to always having someone in my life to reign me back in and keep my ties to the hills of Eastern Kentucky. I am under the impression that the whole world is fascinated by Appalachians. Documenting the people here in Berea, at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, speaking with these characters who embody Berea College, feels like I’m speaking with family. They’re my folk from up the road, down the creek, and over the hill. I am ecstatic to share their stories with the world.”