Last Thursday marked the 25th volume of PechaKucha Vancouver in a sold out Vogue theatre that drew over 1200 people. Arriving as early as 45 minutes prior still meant sitting in the nose bleeds– people are serious about their PechaKucha, and with good reason. 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide is the name of the game and not until you witness the amazing blend of creative minds presenting, do you realize why this monthly event sells out in a heartbeat. These facts alone got me initially quite curious on what exactly something like this looks like. It was enough to inspire action in me to go and give the event a shot. Afterwards, I realized that my initial curiosity was a crucial first step to appreciating Vancouver’s amazing cultural scene.
PechaKucha Vancouver Night Recap
A quick google search reveals that PechaKucha is not just a Vancouver phenomena, but rather a global movement that runs in over 500 cities world wide. I want to mainly focus on highlighting why learning about it and coming on a future night is well worth your time.
A brief overview of the night:
PechaKucha’s Vancouver organizers, Steven and Jane Cox from Cause+Affect, kicked things off with some food for thought. They challenges our understanding of our city by insisting that Vancouver’s Green City initiative must include the protection of arts and culture. This set the stage for the former operators of the Waldorf in the speaker line up toward the night who reflected on the loss of the cultural venue and warned that the closing of the Waldorf was only the tip of the iceberg in the future of arts and culture space.
The presentations themselves were very thought-provoking and reminded the audience to look at things from a completely different perspective. My personal favourites were Julian Thomas and his marvellous Gather Round initiative, and of course, the Waldorf revitalisers Thomas Anselmi and Ernesto Gomez, who put some amazing context of how important the Waldorf actually was for our music and arts scene. They listed off an incredible line-up of talent who had performed in the venue, one being the surging Vancouver talent, Grimes.
Why Vancouver’s arts and culture scene needs something like PechaKucha
Vancouver has a brilliantly creative community of artists, musicians and fans. Vancouverites want to celebrate their city and the accomplishments of its citizens, and that’s why you have 1200 people packing the Vogue Theatre on a weekday. But yet it seems that only when something negative like the Waldorf shutting its doors or Ridge Theatre closing down do most people really pay attention to the importance of arts and culture. The best way for Vancouverites to show how much they appreciate arts and culture is to attend and participate in the diverse range of cultural activities our city has to offer. Vancouverites busy schedules and “tunnel vision” make it easy to oversee the amazing things happening around us so events that help raise the cultural profile of our city are critical. PechaKucha is a prime example of how to introduce a large audience to just a sample of some of these activities. It’s a big enough event to grab the public’s attention and gets people curious.
The most potent type of curiosity is one that leads to action. PechKucha illustrates how many great arts and culture initiatives exist just below the surface of public awareness. PechaKucha is a place to celebrate the city’s most creative minds who can in just a few minutes blow an audience away with their creativity and exciting projects. What I think is important with an event like this is the follow up action. It is my hope that the audience at PechuKucha 25 actually changes their behaviour to support arts and culture, whether it be going to a new exhibit or performance they would usually not try out or start something themselves. I know that with me, I walked out a little hungrier than before to go seek out those daring to create new cultural expressions in our city.
Why I’ll be at the next PechaKucha Vancouver Night
It was my first PechaKucha night and I really came in with very little context besides the structure of how presentations were made and that it was going to be a packed event. By the end of it, my head was full of ideas and I was inspired to enlighten those around me by communicating stories just as meaningful as the ones I had just heard. In just under seven-minutes and with a handful of beautiful slides these presenters challenged themselves to think deeply on what really matters in a presentation and what best tell their story. Each one discovered the key is presenting a message in a simple way that can be interpreted by the diverse and eclectic audience of Vancouverites in a way that has the most meaning to each of them.
Turning curiosity into action and then, into inspiration and further action, is what I value most. It’s the way people grow and it’s the way our city evolves. I recommend PechaKucha any curious minds out there that seek inspiration and value learning from others. It’s an event that beautifully illustrates just how creative of a city we really are to different personalities. Some need to always be in front of the curve, while others need something to inspire them and get their creative juices flowing. It’s an event that caters to everyone and allows people to walk away from it with their own interpretation and inspiration.
Photo Credit: Scout Magazine