What is PechaKucha?

Published on September 4, 2013

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What is PechaKucha 20×20? PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.

Who invented the format? The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in their gallery/lounge/bar/club/creative kitchen, SuperDeluxe, in February, 2003. Klein Dytham architecture still organize and support the global PechaKucha Night network and organize PechaKucha Night Tokyo.

Why invent this format? Because architects talk too much! Give a microphone and some images to an architect — or most creative people for that matter — and they’ll go on forever! Give PowerPoint to anyone else and they have the same problem.

What are PechaKucha Nights? PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really — in the PechaKucha 20×20 format.

Why have PechaKucha Nights gone viral globally? With PechaKucha Nights now happening in over 500 cities around the world, we have discovered that most cities — not just Tokyo — have virtually no public spaces where people can show and share their work in a relaxed way. If you have just graduated from college and finished your first project in the real world, where can you show it? It probably won’t get into a magazine, and you don’t have enough photos for a gallery show or a lecture, but PechaKucha is the perfect platform to show and share your work.

Where are PechaKucha Nights held? PechaKucha Nights are mostly held in fun spaces with a bar, similar to the home of PechaKucha Night, SuperDeluxe, which is a space for “thinking and drinking.” To date, PechaKucha Nights have been held in bars, restaurants, clubs, beer gardens, homes, studios, universities, churches, prisons (disused), beaches, swimming pools, even a quarry!

Who can present? Anyone can present — this is the beauty of PechaKucha Nights. Astrid’s daughter presented when she was 5 (about her artwork) and Mark’s mother presented when she was 69 (about her elaborate wedding cake creations).

What can people present? The key to a great presentation is to present something you love. Most people use PechaKucha Night to present their latest creative projects or work. Some people share their passion and show their prized collection of Nana Mouskouri records, while others share photos of their latest visit to a construction site or their recent holiday snaps. We always recommend people go and see a PechaKucha Night before they ask to present to get a good feel for what it’s all about.

What makes a good PechaKucha? Good PechaKucha presentations are the ones that uncover the unexpected — unexpected talent, unexpected ideas. Some PechaKuchas tell great stories about a project or a trip. Some are incredibly personal, some are incredibly funny, but all are very different, and they turn each PechaKucha Night into “a box of chocolates.”

What if I’m not able to attend a PechaKucha Night? If you’re in an area with no regular PechaKucha Night series, or if you’d just like to get a feel for what people are presenting around the world, then you can go to the Presentations section of this site, and watch presentation from PKNs worldwide.

Who runs PechaKucha Nights? Each PechaKucha Night is run by a city organizer. They are more like stewards, who look after the PechaKucha spirit in each city. All PKN organizers must have a regular day job and they run PechaKucha Nights only for the inspiration, love, and fun of it. They mostly come from the creative fields. The PKN organizer is usually supported by a big team of volunteers — when it comes to putting on a PechaKucha Night, the more helping hands the better. The global PechaKucha network is organized and supported by Klein Dytham architecture.

How can I run a PechaKucha Night? They have never asked anyone to run a PechaKucha Night, people ask them. They only planned this as a one-off event, but then people asked them to run it again — and again – and they were 3 years and 30 events into it, just in Tokyo, before people started thinking it would be cool to have one in their city. Check to see if there is one in your city first. If not, and you think you have what it takes to run one in your city, you can get in touch for more details.

What’s a PechaKucha Night handshake agreement? They have a very simple “handshake” agreement with each city, mostly to ensure there is only one event series per city and that people are not treading on one another’s toes or pulling the rug out from under their feet. PechaKucha Nights take quite a bit of organizing, and the more networks the better so they think it is better for cities to focus on one event. They run an event every month in Tokyo, and believe them, it is quite an undertaking! The “handshake” agreements are free, and renewed each year. Cities must organize a minimum of 4 events a year to qualify as an active city.

Why is PechaKucha Night trademarked? PechaKucha Night is trademarked to protect all the effort and hard work of our PKN city organizers and network. PechaKucha Night is for CONTENT and not profit.

Who pays to support the network? PechaKucha was devised and shared by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, and their office Klein Dytham architecture has supported the movement and global network for the past 9 years, covering all costs for staff and web development. They are currently looking at different ways to keep the project sustainable and viable going forward as the network expands.

Can I use the PechaKucha 20×20 format at school or in the office? Yes, it is a great format for project reviews and presentations at schools or for internal meetings in offices. In these cases, you are free to use the format. If you want to use it in the context of something that is open to the public or publicized, they ask that you get in touch for more details.

Is PechaKucha Night like TED? Many people have said “oh, so you’re like a local TED!” A very nice complement, but not quite right. TED is brilliant, but very different to PechaKucha. TED is top down, PechaKucha is bottom up! Deanne the hooper, Astrid’s daughter, or Mark’s mum could not present at TED, but they had awesome stories to share at PechaKucha Nights.

Was PechaKucha the first format like this? That’s a good question. They have all heard of elevator pitches, a presentation so short you could pitch it to someone in an elevator. 20 seconds x 20 images is a bit longer than that, but the idea is the same: short, concise presentations. As far as they know, PechaKucha was the first to put a limit on the number of images and number of seconds — and the all important auto-forward. There’s no “next slide” or “go back one, please” at PechaKucha Nights.

Is PechaKucha Night a social network? They believe there is nothing social about online social networks, so get out from behind your screen and get to a live event, with real people, real communication, real beer, and real creative fun. So in a sense, they are in fact a “real” social network.

What’s next for PechaKucha 20×20? For press enquiries and further information, please get in touch with them.




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