Saturday, 2 March 2013

Popping my Pecha Kucha Cherry

Last Tuesday marked the 5th volume of the Dundee Pecha Kucha, and marked my first ever Pecha Kucha experience.  It's one of those things that I've always meant to go to, and then kicked myself afterwards for not getting a ticket.

If that entire paragraph made no sense to you, then you've probably never heard of Pecha Kucha and are wondering what the hell I'm babbling on about.  The first ever Pecha Kucha (Japanese for chit chat) happened in Tokyo in 2003 and the aim was to provide a creative platform for people to share ideas within a fairly rigid presentation format.  Each presentation has 20 slides which show for 20 seconds each which in my opinion, keeps each presentation snappy and to the point.  If you want more information the global Pecha Kucha site has an FAQ and Creative Dundee has more information on the Dundee events.

The host (named Gillian I believe) did a really good job of pulling all the presentations together, and was wearing an absolutely adorable dress that I want.  Now.

The unintentional theme that ran through each presentation was how much they all love Dundee, which as someone who wasn't born here, but has since chosen to live here, was really lovely.  I won't mention every presenter (more details about all of them can be found on the Creative Dundee page), but I will mention a few that stood out to me.

Irving Miskell-Reid is a hairdresser and owner of Freedom Hair Experience in Dundee.  My first impression of him was "wow that man is a snappy dresser" and I loved that in every photo of him that appeared in his presentation, he had a different pair of specs on.  It's the little things.  What I really liked about his presentation was that it provided a potted history of the Dundee creative scene which was really interesting to a transplant like me.

Jonathon Baldwin told us the story of his life as a Whovian (Translation for the non geeks - A Whovian is a Dr Who fan).  Although I've never been particularly into Dr Who, I am a giant Whedon and GRRM nerd so I loved his presentation.

I think my favourite presentation of the night was the one given by Mhairi Wild.  Although she's a textile artist by day, her presentation was about cake, and my goodness I have never heard someone speak quite so passionately about cake before. The event was actually the day before her birthday, so she brought a huge amount of cake to share with everyone after the show so she was a very popular lady!

The evening was rounded off by a musical presentation from Chris Marr from Esperi Music.  His slides were filled with pictures of his dog, which was just adorable and his music was a perfect ending to the evening.  You can't see them but as well as the guitar, he's also playing bells with his feet.  It sounded really really pretty.

The whole ethos of Pecha Kucha (which was definitely evident at the Dundee event) is "celebrate what you do", and the more I listened to each presenter, the more I realised it's something I really struggle with.  I was trying to describe to my mum what Pecha Kucha was and when I did I used the word creative in quotation marks.  Not because I doubt the creativity of the presenters, or the rest of the audience, but because I really struggle to think of myself that way.  The more I listened, the more I thought, you know what, I am creative.  To me being creative means you have to create, whether whatever you create sees the light of day or not is (in my opinion) irrelevant.  When I get an idea, whether it be for a blog post or a new cross stitch piece, I can't concentrate until I get it out.  It took me a long time to finally start my Etsy shop, because putting yourself out there like that is really bloody scary.  Each thing I make or write is a little piece of me and I was always terrified nobody would like them.  So far each and every one of my shop customers have been absolutely lovely and have sent me the sweetest feedback, and after my blog post about the invisible illness bingo a reader posted on Facebook that they had said every one of those things to their wife (who has disabilities) and my blog post had given them the wake up call they needed to be more sensitive.  This for me, makes the whole thing worthwhile.

I loved volume 5 of Pecha Kucha Dundee, and I will definitely be there on May 21st for volume 6.  Will you be there?

If you want to see more pictures and reviews of Pecha Kucha Dundee you should check out the hashtag #PKN_DND on twitter.  As always, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @goramstitches and there's a link to my facebook in the sidebar, I'd love you see you there!

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