Edmonton’s seventh Pecha Kucha Night took place this evening at the Citadel Theatre in the wonderful Maclab Theatre. There were probably a little over 400 people in attendance, the vast majority of whom had never been to PKN before. I think I may as well just get right to it: PKN7 was a huge improvement over PKN6, and reaffirms to me that this event can be great!
All of the presenters brought their A-game tonight. In order of appearance, and with their topic titles:
- Gregg Oldring, Designing a Business
- Darryl Plunkie, Phobias
- Daniel Tse, Accessibility Technology
- Zoe Todd, Edmonton as an Aboriginal City
- Alistair Henning, Photographs Create Our Collective Visual Idea of Place
- Don Iveson, Brick by Brick: Lego & Urban Design
- Tamara Stecyk, Expressions of Hunger Online Photo & Poetry Contest
- Mack Male, Local Action Global Recognition
- Jason Openo, Leadership Edmonton
- Tad and Arlen, Improv!
It actually wasn’t Arlen (he couldn’t make it), but I can’t remember the name of his replacement. You can follow all of the presenters with Twitter accounts here.
After the debacle that was PKN6, it was refreshing to see 9 presentations with very little self-promotion. There were also very few umms, ahhs, and awkward pauses. I thought all of the talks were true to the spirit of Pecha Kucha – to share ideas that are inspiring or interesting or perhaps controversial, and that spark a conversation.
Without a doubt my favorite talk of the evening was Don Iveson’s (and I think most everyone in the audience would agree with me on that). He used Lego to share some ideas about urban planning and the kind of built form that he would like to see in Edmonton. It was smart, funny, and well-presented, as expected from Don! A close second for me was Daniel Tse’s talk on accessibility technology. He did such a good job of relating it to the audience, and so many of the people I talked to tonight were excited to learn more and to get involved. He also tweeted during his talk using an automated thing he had setup before the event – such a great idea! I agree with John that Tamara’s talk was the most emotional – her passion really shone through. I think Zoe’s talk made me want to learn more about her topic the most. As for my talk, I thought it went quite well, and I received lots of positive feedback on it. More on that in my next post.
Some other thoughts on the evening:
- Our hosts, Ryan Stark and Brian Murray, did a great job of welcoming everyone and keeping the evening flowing smoothly.
- There wasn’t an official theme this evening, but the theme of “Edmonton” seemed to emerge. Either that or iPads (there were a lot of them in the audience, and Alistair used one on stage).
- We trended to #1 in Canada on Twitter, this time for positive reasons!
- Hosting the after-party at the same place as the event was smart. You lose less people that way.
- The venue was great. I love that the stage was kind of in the audience, much more intimate than some of the venues we’ve had in the past (Myer Horowitz for instance).
- I thought the start time of the event could have been a little tighter…it seemed to take a while to get going, and to restart after the break. No doubt because of all the great conversations that were happening!
- The final presentation, the improv, was probably a safe bet (smart on the part of the organizers) but it worked really well and was quite funny.
- Props to Stephanie Chan and Gabe Wong for the awesome PKN7 posters and graphic design.
Pecha Kucha Night 7 was organized by Edmonton Next Gen, and was sponsored by the City of Edmonton and Capital Power. The next event, PKN8, is scheduled for September 23 at the brand new Interdisciplinary Sciences Centre at the University of Alberta. Stay tuned to @EdmNextGen on Twitter, or sign up for their excellent weekly email newsletter.
Thanks to Edmonton Next Gen for a great event, to all of the volunteers for making it happen, and to my fellow presenters for delivering the goods!