Sep 10

Calgary Pecha Kucha Night

by Wil Knoll · 0 comments

It’s about art and design, not Pokémon.

I used to think a calendar full of conventions showed that your professional life had finally choked the last gasping breath out of your personal life. Also, that Dad probably never had any fun. I know now that I was way off. He was probably having a blast, and I too have started to fill my calendar with conventions, meetups, twitups, and other gatherings with peers and like-minded individuals.

But I have a hard time believing that five years ago Calgary would have offered the wide variety of networking events and blended (the content and/or your person) cross-disciplinary events that are popping up everywhere now. There’s another one coming up in September, and unless your familiar with Japanese it’s name feels just as warm and fuzzy as almost every new microblogging site on the Internets. Pecha Kucha night goes down on 14 September, 2009, at The Grand. And it barely resembles the slideshows that Dad had to sit through.

Pecha Kucha, which Wikipedia tells me is pronounced pe-chak-cha, uses simple math for it’s presentation format. Each presenter is limited to 20 images, and each image is displayed for only 20 seconds. The limited time and perpetual image changes encourages the presenter to keep their talk focused on the most pertinent and engaging details. Each talk is limited to just under seven minutes, allowing for more presenters in an evening and stops PowerPoint burn cold. Founded in 2003, Pecha Kucha Night has a strong appeal amongst designers, allowing them to showcase their work and network and engage with their peers. This style was quickly expanded to include art and other disciplines, but still maintains a heavy design flavor.

Pecha Kucha Nights happen in over 200 cities around the world, and Calgary will be joining them come September. Calgary Arts Development has secured the rights for Pecha Kucha in Calgary, and is going to focus on Art Spaces for the inaugural event. Tim Jones is the CEO and President of Artscape Toronto, an not-for-profit organization that focuses on rejuvenating urban spaces for art, and helps communities build sustainable spaces for creative and cultural expression. He will be speaking about cultural spaces, and CAD will be hosting an Artscape SpaceMaking Workshop. Joe Lobko, lead architect at EverGreen Brick Works, a project converting a historic brickworks in Toronto into an environmental community center, will be speaking as well. Evergreen Brick Works has focused on designing their space-to-be with green design features. The hope is to inspire and challenge it’s visitors to evaluate their own spaces from a green perspective.

All told, Pecha Kucha night should be a solid night of networking and engaging talks. The theme for the inaugural night is very fitting for our time right now in Calgary. Calgary is now home to several community spaces, with a hackerspace opening earlier this year and a independent creative workspace panned for the fall. Those are on top of the handful of assorted spaces previously established. Anyone who is interested in community spaces should probably come out, even if design or art is not their primary focus. Lessons learned can be lessons shared.

And to top it all off, The Velvet at Theatre Junction GRAND is a gorgeous space in itself. Get the right people in the right room and don’t let anyone kill the flow with a half hour long PowerPoint hell. It’s proven formula that has worked elsewhere. Let’s give it a good first outing in Calgary. I might even be there to pimp discussions about art and technology and how Protospace (Calgary’s Hackerspace) can participate in that.

I probably won’t be able to pronounce Pecha Kucha properly until ten people correct me however. You should be one of them.

Calgary Pecha Kucha Night
7:00 pm, 14 September 2009
Theatre Junction GRAND
608 1 Street SW

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