A night of thinking and drinking

Call it a lecture series for the ADD generation. Pecha Kucha, Japanese for "chit-chat," is a newfangled type of show-and-tell that has landed in Whitehorse.

Call it a lecture series for the ADD generation.

Pecha Kucha, Japanese for “chit-chat,” is a newfangled type of show-and-tell that has landed in Whitehorse.

It’s an evening of presentations in which artists, designers, engineers and scientists are given a screen and a podium to discuss their work.

But presenters are only given exactly six minutes and 40 seconds to do so.

The idea was started in 2003 by two Tokyo architects who wanted to bring together a roomful of creative people to talk.

But they realized that if you give someone a microphone to talk about their work, chances are, they’ll go on forever.

So they decided to open the evening up to 10 presenters and give them a challenge: tell a story or an idea in 20 slides with only 20 seconds to speak to each slide.

The result is a fast-paced talk that will keep the attention of the most distracted audience member.

Pecha Kucha has gone viral, and since 2003, the event has been held in more than 250 cities around the world.

The reason it’s become so popular is that many cities don’t have any public spaces for people to show their work in a relaxed way, say the original organizers.

Last March, Dawson City hosted its own Pecha Kucha night to much success.

It prompted Jen Edwards and Chera Hunchuk to hold a similar evening in Whitehorse.

“There’s so many creative people in Whitehorse,” said Edwards who helped put on the Dawson City Pecha Kucha.

“We get to see their work around often, but we don’t get to hear what drives them and what they’re passionate about.”

Presentations at the first event will all focus on the theme, “spark.”

“We purposefully chose that theme to give people room to present what they want,” she said.

Speakers can focus on any work, concept, theory or manifesto that really gets them going.

The Whitehorse event will feature a hodgepodge of people including comedian Sarah Crane, artist Joseph Tisiga, writer Katharine Sandiford and government arts director Laurel Parry.

“We wanted a broad definition of creativity,” said Edwards.

“In the future we’re thinking to go beyond what is considered the arts.”

The evening is meant to be as accessible and relaxed as possible.

Even watching presenters try to stick to their time constraints can be entertaining in itself, said Edwards.

If speakers haven’t practised enough then they’ll talk at lightning speed to cram everything into 20 seconds or alternatively, they may face some awkward lulls of silence until the next slide pops up.

Either scenario usually leads to some audience laughter as the evening isn’t meant to be overly sober.

Most Pecha Kucha lectures are held in bars or served alongside a bevy of drinks.

It’s what led the original organizers to call it an evening of “thinking and drinking.”

Edwards and Hunchuk have plans to organize three Pecha Kuchas events per year.

People who are interested in presenting in future Pecha Kuchas can apply to do so, but are encouraged to see a Pecha Kucha lecture beforehand.

Saturday’s event features: Sonja Ahlers, Sarah Crane, Jon Gelinas, Paul Gort, Laurel Parry, Mike Rice, Katharine Sandiford, John Steins, Candice Tarnowski and Joseph Tisiga in addition to live music by the Square Waves Jazz Trio.

The Pecha Kucha evening will be held at the Old Fire Hall. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., presentations begin at 8:20 p.m. It’s a licensed all-ages event.

For more information or to check out some past lectures that have been done in other cities go to www.pecha-kucha.org

Contact Vivian Belik at


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