Pecha Kucha pronounced pe-cha-ku-cha (with the same emphasis on every syllable) has been an ongoing (and somewhat un-pronounceable) event for almost two years. Edmonton’s NextGen Commitee hosted the first Pecha Kucha in Western Canada back in May of 2008 (Vancouver and Calgary followed soon afterwards with their own events).
Pecha Kucha, (for all those wondering out there in the great Edmonton yonder) simply means chitchat in Japanese. The first Pecha Kucha was held in Tokyo in 2003 and now can be found in over 170 cities worldwide. It’s a night that brings presenters on the creative forefront in from various design fields from the same city together to share, discuss and debate with the public. The catch, is that the powerpoint presentation format is limited to 20 slides, 20 seconds a slide in order to avert the “death by powerpoint” doldrums.
The mandate of Next Gen is to develop the opportunity for the voice of young people to be heard and take an active role in the development of our community, a perfect fit with the concept offered by Pecha Kucha. It’s an evening out that gets people talking and increases their awareness that there are many creative ways to get involved in the development of their city.
Former Next Gen Committee member and Pecha Kucha organizer, Elicia Elliot explained, “The ability to make partnerships between different groups of designers from photographers to architects and the public is something that would not normally happen without an event like Pecha Kucha.”
So far, there have been six Pecha Kuchas to date, with a seventh on the way. Each on has their own unique theme, venue, audience size and attendees who are always keen to provide what they loved, hated and were impartial to. They do this through the Next Gen follow up survey posted on edmontonnextgen.ca and the fast #pkn hash tagging fingers plugged in though Twitter during the events.
Notable Pucha Kucha moments to date include Pecha Kucha 4, which was held while the City of Edmonton was hosting the ICLEI World Congress on Sustainability during June of 2009.
The opportunity meant Next Gen organizers were able to use the same facilities as the congress and capitalize on the meeting of the international association of municipal governments from 57 countries. The Congress has held at the Shaw Conference Centre and due to the large size of the facilities NextGen was able to invite a crowd of 600 to this third installment of Pecha Kucha. In the end, there were more than 600 participants and 50 ICLEI delegates who spent the evening exchanging ideas abou the concept of sustainability across many different professions.
Pecha Kucha 5 was able to build on the success of Pecha Kucha 4 and was held at the equally impressive Myer Howerwitz Theatre thanks to the support of the University of Alberta Art’s Alumni.
Presenters have been able to capture the changing mood and the eclectic mix that is Edmonton’s hard working populace. From land development project managers, industrial designers, volunteers, art and design students, graphic designers, photographers, social activists, architects, public art directors who always find a way their own way to incorporate each unique Pecha Kucha design related theme into their 6 minutes and 40 seconds in front of the crowd.
The open invitation for presentations gets a good number of submissions, but the Next Gen crew is always on the lookout for more Edmontonians to share with others what they are up to through a Pecha Kucha night.
Design is always the underlying concept for Pecha Kucha nights, but inevitably some presentations tend towards self-promotion or pure abstraction that can make the audience shake their heads. Six Pecha Kuchas in, it seems the best presentations are those that use humour, odd segways and references to share an awareness of projects that are underway in the city or brewing below the surface of people who live, work (and play) in our northern city.
The beauty of Pecha Kucha comes from the fact that an industrial design student can jump up on stage after a much accomplished land developer, and both are equally subject to the sharp, no holds barred commentary of the audience. But that commentary is the point of Pecha Kucha. These presentations are meant to inspire chitchat about ideas that will help motivate us, out of inspiration or frustration, to create a better city.
For more info on Pecha Kucha Night in Edmonton visit: www.pecha-kucha.org/night/edmonton/
If you’re interested in presenting at PKN 7, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org for the info on how to submit a presentation.
You can also see more images from all of our Pecha Kucha events in the NextGen flickr pool.