Bigger, better, longer – tonight was Edmonton’s fourth Pecha Kucha Night (if you’re new to Pecha Kucha, read this). Held at the site of the ICLEI World Congress 2009, the Shaw Conference Centre, tonight’s event featured twelve presentations related to the theme of “inspiring sustainability”. More than 600 people attended, making PKN4 the largest yet in Edmonton. I’d say it was a major success!
In my review of PKN3, I mentioned that a theme might have made the event better. Tonight proved that a theme can indeed have a significant impact. I thought the presentations flowed much better and were more accessible, largely because they were part of a cohesive overarching topic. I hope Next Gen applies tonight’s lesson to future PKN events also.
Tonight’s presenters were (in order of appearance):
- Jordan Schroder, Futurist
- Myron Belej, Urban Planner
- Simon Wunderli, Architectural Technologist
- Zoe Todd & Keegan McEvoy, Bicycle Commuters
- Natalia Pakin, Interior Design Technologist
- Liz Lepper, Edmonton Timeraiser
- Trevor Anderson, Artistic Director, That’s Edmonton For You!
- Pamela Wight, Conservation Planner
- Sherrilyn Jahrig, Light-Efficient Communities Consultant
- Lori Billey & Paige Weir, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, AB Chapter
- Stephani Carter, LEED Accredited Professional
- Next Gen
The presentations were all really strong tonight, with only a few weak moments in my opinion. Kudos to Jordan for going first in front of the packed audience. I really liked Myron’s presentation on murals. He said “murals enhance our social sustainability”. Simon’s presentation about a super-efficient house in Switzerland was something different and intriguing. Fans of cycling would have loved Zoe & Keegan’s ode to the bike. They said that to make Edmonton great, “active transportation must be prioritized.” Natalia had some good points about marketing and overusing the word “sustainable”. Finishing off the first set of presentations, Liz introduced the audience to Edmonton Timeraiser, a silent art auction where you bid time instead of money (volunteers should check out CivicFootprint). The first such event will take place on October 17th at the TransAlta Arts Barns.
First up after the break was Trevor Anderson, artistic director for That’s Edmonton For You! I loved his approach – he asked the audience to say “that’s Edmonton for you” whenever the slide changed. Trevor said “make art for your neighbours” and that you value an artist’s work the same way you value a lawyer’s, “cash money”. Pamela’s presentation introduced me to EALT. Sherrilyn started off a bit slow, but ended up sharing some great points about light pollution. Paige & Lori delivered my least favorite of the presentations, attempting to focus on paper waste. Stephani was bold and went with a spoken rap for her presentation on inspiring change. Finally, some of the Next Gen members gave an overview of the organization. I’m not sure it was the most appropriate presentation, but it was probably good for those in the audience who were new to Next Gen.
I think there was some concern going into the event about the scale, but everyone seemed to be having a great time – maybe size doesn’t matter! One interesting thing during the intermission was the “ideas on twine” wall. Attendees were encouraged to write their suggestions for future PKNs on a card and attach it to the twine. Creative way to solicit feedback! They gave away a bunch of door prizes too, including the grand prize – a bicycle courtesy of redbike, highlevel diner, and the sugarbowl.
It was great to see lots of familiar and new faces tonight! The next Pecha Kucha Night in Edmonton will take place on October 2nd at the Myer Horowitz Theatre at the University of Alberta. Don’t forget, we say it “peh-cha-koo-cha” here in Edmonton! You can see the rest of my photos here, and you can subscribe to the excellent Edmonton Next Gen newsletter here.