Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #4

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.

Cary & StephaniePecha Kucha Edmonton 4

Tonight’s presenters were (in order of appearance):

  1. Jordan Schroder, Futurist
  2. Myron Belej, Urban Planner
  3. Simon Wunderli, Architectural Technologist
  4. Zoe Todd & Keegan McEvoy, Bicycle Commuters
  5. Natalia Pakin, Interior Design Technologist
  6. Liz Lepper, Edmonton Timeraiser
  7. Trevor Anderson, Artistic Director, That’s Edmonton For You!
  8. Pamela Wight, Conservation Planner
  9. Sherrilyn Jahrig, Light-Efficient Communities Consultant
  10. Lori Billey & Paige Weir, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, AB Chapter
  11. Stephani Carter, LEED Accredited Professional
  12. 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.

Jordan SchroderMyron BelejSimon WunderliZoe Todd & Keegan McEvoyNatalia PakinLiz Lepper

Trevor AndersonPamela WightSherrilyn JahrigLori Billey & Paige WeirStephani CarterNext Gen

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.

Pecha Kucha Edmonton 4Pecha Kucha Edmonton 4

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.

15 thoughts on “Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #4

  1. The Winspear was cool, hip, sauve, and so was the Transalta space but the Shaw and Myer Horowitz aren’t exactly inspiring spaces. Too bad they’re not having the event in interesting places. The hanger comes to mind, the Roxy theatre, Telus Center, even the new Lobby of the Rexal center at the U (or the lecture theatre I guess) or how about City Hall, or an out door event? They could do mini events in between at coffee shops and pubs where a small presentation would be followed up with conversation with the presenter(s).

    I do like the idea of themes.

  2. We are hosting another set of Pecha Kucha Nights and do indeed look for inspiring spaces. We are hosting PKN 5 during the U of A Alumni week and hence the reason why it’s at the U of A Myer Horowitz. It’s a cool space that includes a balcony too!

    At Next Gen, we really do rely on our volunteers to help out. We also rely very much on sponsorship so sometimes, we are limited in the choice of venue because of costs. PKN 4 was at Hall B at the SCC because this is where ICLEI was held and it was big enough to hold a large number of people. We are also limited in choosing a specific venue because of size.

    But we would love to hear ideas on where people would like to see PKN 6! Let us know:

  3. Hi CC. I understand where you’re coming from and I appreciate the response.

    The City of Edmonton is a ICLEI sponsor and City Hall, for example, would have been much better then the Shaw. A bonus would have been that the visitors could have seen more of the city and some architecture we can be proud off. The parking garage under City Center would be cool too (there have been dance parties down there in the past). How about Churchill Square, the Library amphitheater, or one of the lovely spaces in the Citadel. All of these can hold 600 +.

    With regards to next one, in Myer Horowitz. It does have a cool balcony, I’ll give it that, but, why not use a space at the U that is unique? The lobby of the new Rexall buiding probably would be free or sponsored [perhaps by Rexall] and spend the money for space rental on chairs. ConHall’s an amazing venue too.

    Part of the allure of Pecha Kucha is the space it’s held in. The events have been great and everyone seems to enjoy them, the organizers should be commended on that. I’m not trying to nitpick either, I’m just trying to get at the point that Pecha Kucha isn’t just about the presenters, it’s about the experience. A conference center is just a conference center, and an aging theatre is an aging theatre.

  4. Another advantage to hosting last night’s event at SCC was that everyone got to use the new Wireless Edmonton that was announced this week for ICLEI. As a Next Gen led initiative, I thought it was particularly appropriate to host PKN4 there!

    I do agree that part of the allure is the experience, but first and foremost, the presentations have to be intriguing. That should be the focus.

  5. Thanks for your comment Mack. I agree, the presentations need to be intriguing. But what’s out of Next Gen’s control is that we do not know how the presenter will perform when they’re on stage. They can have great images and abstract submitted to us but they can be not a strong speaker or vice versa. We trust that they will all do a great job and if they don’t then the audience will let them know or people will blog or twitter about it like you have. That’s what’s great about Pecha Kucha Night.

    And Wader – hopefully we’ll host PKN 6 in a more intimate space or one of venues you mentioned.

  6. Mack, just a note that Wireless Edmonton is also in City Hall and Churchill Square: It has been for a while and NexGen was consulted on those two locations as well.

    Erin. I totally agree with you. Looking so forward to it opening.

    Oh! I thought of another venue. Enterprise square would be fantastic.

    That’s enough from me. I appreciate all the dialogue. Keep up the good work Mack.

  7. I’m a bit late on the discussion here.


    Many of the locations you cited would not be practical for hosting PKN.

    1)The lobby of Rexall-Katz is not inspiring in the least. There is a Tim Hortons gleaming brightly at the centre, and the space is not very large (it’s just very TALL). There are also large concrete pillars that would impede vision if a presentation were to take place. As for the Allard Family lecture hall within Katz, it can only hold ~200.

    2) The Telus center is a conference center…so I’m not sure how that would be any better than the Shaw. As well, the lecture theatres in Telus are horrendous — extremely squishy seating and dim lighting.

    3) I like your ConHall idea — but this space definitely does not hold 600+ people.

    Anyways, I see your point Wader. But my point is that many “cool” locations may seem ideal at first glance. However, they do have drawbacks.

  8. Hi again. I should have been more clear.

    The area I’d use in Rexall-Katz would be the second level where there’s ample room at the west side for seating, screen, etc (just move the couches) in addition to the space on the pedway over the first level.

    The Telus center lobby holds lots of events and people seem to like the space. The festival of teaching packed several hundred in addition to a tonne of booths. It doesn’t, and in fact shouldn’t, in my opinion, be in a tradition theatre/lecture space unless the space either matches the topic or is simply an inspiring venue (the garneau theatre, princess, and paramount come to mind for theatres and the lecture hall in dent pharm. does for lecture spaces).

    Finally, I don’t know why Nexgen is stuck on making this event bigger or even keeping it the same size. PKN can be topic based for very niche crowds. It doesn’t need to get bigger. Bigger is not always better. If not everyone gets in, tough luck, wait for the next one. The first few were smaller, more intimate, and less corporate feeling because of the size of the event, and the spaces they were held in.

    Sorry for the dead horse that’s now been beaten on this page Mack.

  9. Hi Wader,

    Next Gen is not stuck on making this event bigger. We had the last PKN bigger ONLY because of ICLEI and venue that was offered to us. I have heard postive things about the size as well as negative. We are going to continue to pursue having PKN be both smaller and intimate and larger depending on factors such as sponsorship, decision from the organizing committee, etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s