November 25, 2010 Walking Home Projects at Pecha Kucha Night #14

November 25th, 2010 – Pecha Kucha #14

Review written by: Sam Knopp

Pecha Whatcha?  Pecha Kucha?  How do you say that?  Well, whatever, I’m in!  That’s my story of joining Walking Home Projects for a special evening at the Vogue Theatre on Thursday, November 25th.  A group of 10 young adults quickly snagged the ten tickets for Vancouver’s monthly Pecha Kucha Night, which Walking Home Projects received free of charge from the event’s hosts, Cause and Effect Design, the tickets in fact sponsored by the Vancouver Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council.  Like many others in the group, this was my first Pecha Kucha, and as we made our way into the sold out house, I was quite surprised to see the age diversity in the crowd.  Catherine Pulkinghorn, the director of Walking Home Projects, had given us a brief explanation of what Pecha Kucha is about – a night where creative types get together and jam out ideas – but I was still surprised by the atmosphere; creativity was pulsing through the room, fuelled by trendy hipsters and conversations about upcoming craft fairs and local architecture.

Walking Home Projects youth guests for Pecha Kucha Night #14 (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

When we settled into our seats on the orchestra level of this 1940’s Art Deco theatre, Catherine explained that Pecha Kucha first began in Tokyo in 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their stuff in public.  The Japanese word for “chit-chat,” “Pecha Kucha” has since spread across the world, and now these conversations happen in over 370 cities!  There is one catch to Pecha Kucha: if you’re going to present, you need to keep it to twenty slides and twenty seconds per slide, or roughly six and half minutes to show what you’ve got!  This format is key to every Pecha Kucha because it keeps the presentations concise and allows more speakers to share their thoughts, projects, and stories.

Local band The Racoons opened Vancouver's Pecha Kucha Night #14 right up! (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

As I mentioned, the event originated with ex-patriot and Japanese designers living in Tokyo, but as the movement has grown, it’s branched out to other mediums, and speakers now talk about anything and everything – with design in mind.  Some of the flavours on our night’s menu (Pecha Kucha Vancouver Volume 14) included living walls, product design, restaurant decor, and even sex therapy!  As we waited for the presentations to start, I shuddered at the thought of myself on stage trying to handle the pressure, when suddenly a loud wail broke my train of thought.  The Racoons, a local Vancouver band, hit the stage, cluing me in once and for all to the fact that this wasn’t going to be a TED Talk.  It seemed strange to me that a group of speakers would be following this young trio; the beats advocated for some dancing, but after a short set, their time was up and it was on to the next thing… and then the next…  and then another – we ripped through twelve unique presentations in all, getting a little glimpse into the practice and mindset of each unique presenter.  A few were, understandably, a little shaky in front of the 1,000 plus people in attendance, but others moved effortlessly through the 20×20 format.  But regardless of nerves, each presentation offered something that left me feeling inspired, moved, or brimming with ideas to apply to my own practice.

Walking Home Projects youth inspired by Pecha Kucha Vancouver's presentations (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

I left feeling uplifted by the realization that our city is filled with so many creative minds – and creative supporters! – who are working to explore new potential that will hopefully make both our city and our world a better and more beautiful place.  Pecha Kucha?  Pecha Loveya!

Sam Knopp


Participant Reviews

Walking Home Projects at Pecha Kucha #14 in Vancouver
by Bahador Saray Sorour

On November 25th, I had the opportunity to see Vancouver’s Pecha Kucha for first time as an activity of Walking Home Projects.  It was a great experience to see Pecha Kucha at the professional level.  As a 4th year Industrial Design student at Emily Carr University, my fellow students and I did a Pecha Kucha for the first time in my Core Design class three weeks ago.  The difference that I found between my class Pecha Kucha experience and the presentations I saw on Thursday is the higher level of excitement that the presenters transferred to the audience at the Vogue Theatre.  Now, by comparing what I did and what I saw last night, I know what a real Pecha Kucha Night is, and see the best way to share your passion to an audience is through evocative images. I’d like to thank Walking Home Projects again for inviting us to Pecha Kucha Night.


Another sold out Pecha Kucha night in Vancouver! (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

Pecha Kucha Night Volume 14
by Maia Rowan

Pecha Kucha Night provided a window into my near future.  The presenters were unusually young, and each presenter was enthusiastic about their work in a design-related field.  There was an overwhelming presence of environmentally conscious designers, which probably reflects the focus on environmentally friendly design at Emily Carr University’s design program as well as the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, among other.  Along with the ‘green’ design presented at Pecha Kucha, there was also a focus on urban living, and planning for more dense communities.

Pecha Kucha is a great resource for design students because it shows the kinds of work being accomplished in the local design community.  It provides insight into what can be achieved, and inspiration for a designer to find a niche you love.  Pecha Kucha reminds me that it is important to develop and exploit your passions throughout your education and career as a designer.

As a design student I am still developing my area of expertise, and witnessing the works and passions of others at Pecha Kucha provides new ideas and suggestions.

Maia Rowan

Walking Home Projects thanks the Vancouver Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council for tix to Pecha Kucha! (Photo credit: Catherine Pulkinghorn)

Pecha Kucha with Walking Home Projects
by Neudis Abreu

Last night I went to my first Pecha Kucha event.  I didn’t know what to expect.  It is definitely a great event to share ideas, connect with people that have your same interest and to open your mind.  You really get a taste of the talent and diversity of ideas that exist in Vancouver.  The different topics that were addressed last night included design, architecture, history, sex, local press, and local business.  Most of the presentations related to issues that we are all – in one way or another – facing every day.  Pecha Kucha was an introduction to an optimistic and positive approach to solve problems and finding different ways to solve these problems.  At the end, Pecha Kucha wasn’t what I had expected, but it was a great experience, fun and very informative, inspiring.

Neudis Abreu