20 slides, 20 seconds to talk about each one

The Westcott House is hosting a night of PechaKucha.

Do you create interesting art, or have you done an interesting project at work? Or maybe you visited a far away place, or you have an unusual hobby? If any of these sound like you, then you are an excellent candidate for PechaKucha Night at the Westcott House.

Marta Wojcik, executive director and curator of the Westcott House, said that PechaKucha is a Japanese word that is used to describe a social gathering sweeping the world.

“It was started by Americans living in Tokyo as a way for designers to share their work. Now it’s for all people, from all walks of life, who have something they want to share.”

The concept is simple: 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, with the presenter allowed to speak over them. The total presentation is about six minutes long. I can think of lots of business meetings and school lectures that would benefit from this method of information exchange.

It is now a global initiative. “We had to contact people in Japan to be part of it,” said Wojcik. Currently there are more than 500 cities all over the world hosting these meetings.

Here, community members share things that are important to them. “We have six people signed up to do presentations this time, ranging from working with underprivileged communities, to how Springfield has a strong history of tennis, and one about local artists and local small businesses,” said Wojcik.

“The first one I went to was in Chicago at a conference. I loved it so much I wanted to do it here,” she said. “It is exciting, and people really enjoy it. It’s usually done in a bar, because there’s a relaxed, social aspect to it. We have a cash bar and snacks when we do it, and people can walk around the house and chat. It makes the Westcott House really dynamic and brings life to the house. We like to find new ways for the community to enjoy the house.”

The event is growing in popularity. This is the sixth one Wojcik has hosted, and 40 people attended the last one.

Wojcik is looking for people to sign up as presenters. The next event will be in March or April, so there is plenty of time to prepare. If you’re interested, contact Marta at mwojcik@westcotthouse.org.

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