Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #1

Tonight I attended the first ever Pecha Kucha Night in Western Canada, held downtown at the Winspear Centre. Edmonton’s Next Gen worked hard to bring the popular event to our city, to help showcase local designers, architects, artists, and other creatives. Until recently, I hadn’t heard of Pecha Kucha but it’s actually a worldwide phenomenon of sorts, having spread to over 120 countries virally. Here’s what it’s all about:

Pecha Kucha Night, devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, was conceived in 2003 as a place for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.

Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds each – giving 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame before the next presenter is up. This keeps presentations concise, the interest level up, and gives more people the chance to show.

Pecha Kucha (which is Japanese for the sound of conversation) has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown, without having to rent a gallery or chat up a magazine editor.

To me it’s sort of like the design world equivalent of DemoCamp, though that may be simplifying things a bit.

pecha kucha night

Tonight’s event featured thirteen presenters with a range of interests, from urban planning and design to humanities visualization research. A twenty minute break split the presentations, and offered me a chance to go from sitting to standing. I think standing was better – easier to see, harder to get bored.

Yes, some of the presentations were a bit dry. If only they all contained the energy and humor and enthusiasm that Myron Belej’s presentation on urban color did. Essentially what Myron did was take photos of our city, and then added color to the buildings. It was really interesting, and his style of presentation was great for an event like this. Everyone was paying attention to Myron. His “21st slide” is a colored Rexall Place, and you can see it at his website.

The current plan is to have four Pecha Kucha Night’s per year here in Edmonton. Apparently some larger cities like San Francisco do one every month! I think it’s great that our city has an event like this, and I expect the presentations and attendance will only get better.

For more information, check out the official Pecha Kucha website or Wikipedia. You might also want to sign up for the Edmonton Next Gen newsletter, to find out when the next one in our city will be held! I snapped a few photos too, which you can see here.

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