Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #12

pkn12Edmonton’s twelfth Pecha Kucha Night was held last night at the historic Garneau Theatre in Old Strathcona. More than 500 people attended to see 10 presentations on a variety of topics, all delivered in the now familiar 20-slides-at-20-seconds-per-slide format. Most Pecha Kucha Nights in Edmonton have featured something unique, and last night the spotlight and red carpet outside the theatre welcomed attendees in style. The popcorn was free, the seats were comfy, and the energy in the room was infectious.

In order of appearance, these were the presenters at PKN12:

  1. Erin Monaghan, Blogger
  2. Ben Henderson, City Councillor
  3. Duncan Kinney, Polynerd
  4. Leroy Schultz, Photographer
  5. Stephen Visser & Dawn Lamothe, Yoga Lovers
  6. Joseph Ahorro, U2 Fan
  7. Michael Walters, Community Organizer
  8. Chris Falconer & Owen Petersen, Foodies
  9. Sue Huff, MLA Candidate
  10. Steve Sandor, Journalist

It takes guts to get up in front of such a large crowd, especially when you have a limited period of time and high expectations! I thought all of the presenters did a great job. All of them seemed to have fun too! Sharon remarked that PKN12 was probably in the middle of the pack in terms of presentations, and I agree.

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton 12

Erin kicked off the evening with her discussion of street fashion, drawing mainly on her experiences writing The Vestiary. I thought her approach, treating Edmonton as her “little sister”, added a nice touch of humor, even if the overall flow was at times difficult to follow. I love that Erin and others like her are doing something about the perception of Edmonton’s fashion scene! Duncan’s presentation was packed with information, and I thought he did a nice job of discussing what a credit union is and why you should consider one. Duncan recently organized the Local Money Summit and is running to be a director of Servus Credit Union. One of the more moving presentations of the evening was Leroy’s overview of Miguelito’s Little Green Car. It’s an amazing story really, he has taken this little green car all over the world and photographed it people from all walks of life. He wants to show that everyone is connected. Here is the photo he took of the audience with the little green car:

First up after the intermission was Joseph, who talked about his experiences travelling to U2 concerts all around the world. We’re not talking one or two concerns, we’re talking dozens, on four different continents! The human connection is what made the story interesting, that and Joseph’s occasional singing! Michael Walters spent his twenty slides talking about local food, and in particular, the northeast part of our city which is home to some of the best farmland in the country. He talked about The Great Potato Giveaway, and about the importance of building a local food hub. The next presentation featured foodies Chris and Owen who wore matching plaid shirts and aprons. Their high energy talk was focused on bread – the history of it, why bread is great, and even some science behind it. They finished with the quickest bread making I have ever seen! Sue was up next with an interesting talk on creative politics. It was a solid talk with some good ideas, but it just couldn’t match the energy of some of the other talks. The final presentation was all about why Edmonton needs an SCTV monument. Steven made the case and had some really interesting visuals (I like the one of Melonville). I can definitely get behind the notion that we should celebrate more than just our sports heroes, but I think we can do better than SCTV. I think the association between ‘Edmonton’ and ‘SCTV’ is incredibly low for the vast majority of people, and a monument isn’t going to change that. On the other hand, maybe I am just too young.

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton 12

I think a lot of people in the audience really enjoyed Stephen and Dawn’s “presentation” but it didn’t work for me. Instead of a typical presentation, they did yoga on stage for the six minutes and forty seconds, with a different position for each slide. Obviously they worked very hard at the presentation, and as Michael Brechtel commented to me, it was executed perfectly, and for that I commend them. For me though, it wasn’t a Pecha Kucha talk. The voiceover was pre-recorded There was a third, unannounced presenter off to the side who provided the voiceover for each slide, and I found I wasn’t even listening to it because I was distracted/enthralled by the acrobatics on stage.

My favorite presentation of the evening (and Sharon’s favorite too) was Ben Henderson’s discussion on winter. He showed images from his trip to Oslo, Helsinki, and other winter cities in northern Europe. Ben was full of energy, full of passion for his subject, and I think he did a nice job of being serious and fun at the same time. I hope he made as much of an impression on everyone else as he did on me, and if you’re interested in learning more about the City’s WinterCity strategy, visit the website and also check out the IdeaScale site.

Twitter always plays a large role in Pecha Kucha. The #pkn12 hashtag was buzzing last night! Here are a few tweets from the evening that I thought were worth capturing:









Proceeds from the bar went to the food bank, and there were a bunch of great prize giveaways too. I seem to have pretty good luck with prizes at Pecha Kucha, because I was one of the winners! Once again the event was livestreamed by the Edmonton Journal. I didn’t see as much chatter about quality or connection issues, so hopefully it worked well for everyone. In case you missed it, you can watch the recorded video here.

Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton 12Pecha Kucha Night Edmonton 12

Keep an eye on @EdmNextGen for details on the next Pecha Kucha Night, tentatively scheduled for June.

You can read about past Pecha Kucha Nights in Edmonton here.

7 thoughts on “Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #12

  1. Just a side note Mack for Stephen and Dawn, the speaker was live and just off stage. It wasn’t pre-recorded. Not a major detail obviously but just wanted to point that out. 

    1. wow! i never would have guessed that!  perhaps i was too distracted by the yoga on stage- thanks for the info.

      su  🙂

      1. Thought it would be relevant (and belated) to confirm that there was indeed a third ‘Mystery Man’. We want to thank our good friend Colin Bascik for contributing his voice without being credited in any way. Dawn and I originally intended to do the talk ourselves. The flow we came up with was too demanding so we looked at other creative ways to communicate. We thought that maybe we could use a smartphone to pre-record (ultimate irony), but this was against Pecha Kucha regulations. The Next Gen team suggested a third presenter. With limited options and time, this was the route we chose.

        The whole presentation, both visual and audio, was a riff on whitespace; we wanted to give the audience space to react in their own way to the movement, words and pictures. We were trying to convey the value of touch as a form of communication. While it wasn’t a ‘talk’ in the traditional sense, I felt that the room was responding to what we were saying with or without words.It has been interesting to see how different people reacted. As you mention, there was a lot going on. People responded much more viscerally to our presentation than either Dawn or I expected. Like you, I think many others did miss what was being said. Ultimately, I hope we created something that inspired conversation outside of PKN12.

      2. Stephen, thanks for the comment, I really appreciate it. As I mentioned, I was so mesmerized by the acrobatics on stage that I found myself no longer listening to the words, and I think that is what made it “not work” for me.

        Clearly it was creative and inspiring however, and I think most of the audience reacted very positively to it. As far as creating something that inspired conversation outside of PKN12, I think you succeeded!

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