For those unfamiliar with Pecha Kucha, the concept is simple: each presenter gets to present 20 slides, and 20 seconds to speak to each slide.
This installment was held at the Myer Horowitz Theatre in the Students’ Union Building of the University of Alberta. Sponsored by the Alumni Association, it was held in conjunction with U of A Reunion weekend. While not a full house, there was a good crowd in attendance (I’d estimate they sold about 600 tickets, based on the crowd size and the numbers they called out when drawing for door prizes). I was surprised by the number of first time attendees (a show of hands demonstrated who had been to a previous event). This is a good sign that Pecha Kucha’s reputation is spreading in Edmonton. I was also impressed with the turnout given that it was held on a Friday night (as opposed to Thursdays when they normally are), which creates greater competition for potential attendees with so much more going on throughout the city.
Mack Male has a good recap of the presentations, which I suggest you check out; I’ll gloss over the details of them and focus on some general impressions.
There were two types of presentations. I’ll call them “information” and “idea” presentations. The former focus on disseminating information about specific events or initiatives, such as MIchael Janz‘s presentation about the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and Dave Cournoyer and Diane Begin‘s presentation about ChangeCamp Edmonton. The latter aims to convince the audience of the merits of an idea or action; examples include Josh Kjenner and Shafraaz Kaba of Manasc Isaac‘s presentation about the impact of land use bylaws on design and development, and Tad Hargrave’s presentation on a local economy. This event struck a good balance between the two.
Pecha Kucha nights are a great way to learn about community initiatives and new ideas. If I have a criticism of the event, it’s that there is no structure within which to follow up on these ideas, or to discuss them further. You have a 15 minute break in the middle of the presenters, and at this event there was an official ‘after-party’, but those don’t lend themselves well to a dialogue with the presenters or the attendees. I think some sort of forum, ideally online, where people could ask questions of the presenters and discuss the ideas amongst each other would be beneficial. It would also be nice if the presentations were posted online (apologies if they already are and I can’t find them). There were a number of provocative ideas presented last night. I’d love to be able to refer back to them, share them with people who weren’t in attendance, and discuss these ideas further.
Aside from that, Next Gen put on another strong installment in what has become their flagship series of events. It’s both encouraging and inspiring to see what people are doing to make Edmonton a better place.
Also, I won a sweet photo printer courtesy of the U of A Alumni Association.