An event combining education and entertainment that got its start a few years ago in Japan is making its way to the Hawkeye State. It’s called PechaKucha, from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation or chit chat.
Speakers go one at a time before the audience to talk about any subject, as long as they’re not asking for money or selling anything. Behind them, pictures are shown on a screen. Sara Noll Wilson, the PechaKucha organizer in Des Moines, says it’s something like a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s in a format keeps things concise and moving at a rapid pace.
“Every presentation is 20 slides that are timed for 20 seconds, so each presentation is only six minutes and 40 seconds,” Noll Wilson says. “The idea is not to use bullet points or a lot of text but to really rely on images. It started in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for them to showcase their up-and-coming architects and it’s turned into this great night of people sharing what they’re excited about.”
On the Iowa debut of the phenomenon, Noll Wilson will give her own presentation: “My family does a big croquet tournament to honor my grandfather’s life and so I’m going to do something on that event and just encourage people to find their own croquet tournament for their own family and come together.” She says other cities have held this type of event for young designers to meet, network and show their work in public.
“It’s so fascinating and fun to watch people talk about things they’re interested in,” Noll Wilson says. “We have somebody talking about their family organic farming. We have somebody else who’s talking about leadership lessons he’s learned from his child. We have somebody else talking about their favorite fair foods and the exercises they do to prepare for it.”
Several hundred cities around the globe hold PechaKucha nights but this will be the first one in Iowa. The free event is 7 P.M. Thursday at the Des Moines Social Club.