Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #8

Last night was Edmonton’s eighth Pecha Kucha Night, the first public event to be held at the University of Alberta’s brand new Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science. The lecture theatre we were in was massive, but the crowd was equally as large. Edmonton loves Pecha Kucha!

In order of appearance, here were the presenters at PKN8:

  1. Dr. Indira Samarasekera, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Alberta
  2. Robert Rogers, Herbalist
  3. Carol Neuman, Board Member, LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival
  4. Dustin Bajer, Teacher & Permaculture Designer
  5. Ben Gardner, Intern Architect
  6. Nadir Bellahmer, Designer, and Michael Rivest, Intern Architect, M.A.D.E
  7. Leslee Greenaway, Edmonton-based Realtor, Save A Village
  8. Marcelo Figueira, Civil Engineer and Land Use Planner
  9. Anita Gregoire, Developer of Urban Food Production
  10. Isha Datar, Researcher

Pecha Kucha Night 8Pecha Kucha Night 8

For the most part, I thought all of the presentations were good. All of the presenters seemed as though they had practiced at least once, and no one really let nerves get the better of them. In contrast with PKN7, where the presenters could barely see the audience, last night’s presenters could probably see everyone, and I imagine that would have been quite daunting in such an imposing room.

I think my favorite talk of the evening was Dustin’s talk on permaculture. He started with a sort of introduction to the topic, before sharing the project he has been working on at Jasper Place School. Though he spoke pretty fast, he was loud, clear, and made permaculture sound very interesting. I really like the idea that “resiliency is the measure of connections.”

I also thought Carol’s talk was very good. She was very successful at promoting LitFest without actually talking about the event! That was in contrast to Nadir and Michael. Although they were entertaining, there wasn’t a lot of substance in their talk, and I don’t even think it was a very good introduction to M.A.D.E.

In talking with others after the event, Isha’s presentation seemed to be a favorite (she also spoke at PKN5). Anita’s talk on community supported agriculture was informative, and Robert took what seemed at first to be a very dry topic and ended up giving a talk with the most memorable quote of the night: “It tastes like chocolate, and it gives you sweet, sweet dreams.” Leslee’s presentation was very well done, but seemed out of place with the rest of the talks. I thought the topics that Ben and Marcelo chose were interesting, especially Ben’s on some new buildings in Edmonton, but perhaps could have been presented differently.

I also have to mention Indira’s talk. She’s a really great speaker, but I would say that her presentation last night probably wasn’t my favorite. She also went over time and bolted from the room as soon as she was done, but I realize she’s a busy lady.

Pecha Kucha Night 8Pecha Kucha Night 8

Some other thoughts on the evening:

  • Our hosts were Ryan Stark and Brian Murray, and once again they did a pretty good job of keeping the evening flowing. They also ditched cue cards in favor of iPads!
  • There wasn’t a theme last night, but “food” kind of emerged as the theme.
  • Edmonton was big on Twitter last night! #pkn8 trended in Canada (as did #yegvote). It seems that more and more people are using Twitter to enhance the Pecha Kucha experience.
  • Though it was cool to be the first ones in the new venue, it really didn’t work as well as it could have. The space outside the lecture room was tight and narrow, which made it difficult to move. Inside, the room had odd lighting and the occasional sound issue. And the event started a half hour late, due to technical difficulties.
  • There were free cookies! And a free photo booth (use password “Nextgen780” once the photos are uploaded).
  • The wonderful graphics for the event were done by Sarah Krzyzek. I understand she painted them on canvas and then scanned them in, which sounds like an incredible amount of work!

Edmonton Next Gen is planning the next Pecha Kucha Night in Edmonton for March 2011. Thanks to them for a great event, to all of the volunteers for making it happen! Stay tuned to @EdmNextGen on Twitter for updates.

You can see a few more photos from last night here.

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