Academic Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha is not new, but it’s new to me. Pecha Kucha was born in Tokyo in 2003, the brainchild of designers Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham. In their Pecha Kucha (which I’m told is Japanese for ‘chit-chat’) night, young designers gathered and gave presentations consisting of exactly 20 images displayed for exactly 20 seconds each, with the presenter speaking over the progressing images. Since then, Pecha Kucha nights have sprung up all over the world, mostly in creative contexts.

Amsterdam Pecha Kucha night; Photo courtesy of sic

Pecha Kucha came onto my radar while I followed the Education in a Changing Environment Conference Twitter stream #ece11. There was a Pecha Kucha session at the conference which generated much enthusiasm and comment. What I’d like to know is: is there particular academic value in arranging presentations in such a clearly constrained way? I can certainly see the value in cutting down waffling and keeping things very engaging for the audience. Is there anything else?

This past week, I spoke at the University of Greenwich ELearning Conference. We were given what felt at first like slightly constraining presentation guidelines: 20 minutes to speak, 20 minutes for discussion, no more than 10 slides per presentation. On conference day, I could see the benefit of these guidelines, as discussion was emphasised and, as a presenter, I felt a bit freed from feeling I had to fill time and include loads of text in my presentation.

What is the case for academic Pecha Kucha?

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist

Leave a comment


  1. Brenda

     /  July 8, 2011

    I recently saw a Pecha Kucha presentation at the Ed-Media conference in Lisbon. I only paid attention briefly. I was soon distracted by the noise of the poster session that was held simultaneously in the same place.

    Apparently, pecha kucha did work for some presentations (I asked around). However, some people just were not following the guidelines (e.g., talking past the given time, showing slides with a lot of text).

    For me, it was just too chaotic (not necessarily because of the pecha kucha approach but because of all the people talking at the poster sessions).

    But maybe… it could work?

  2. bdra

     /  July 8, 2011

    Thanks Brenda! I did see one tweet from someone preparing for the #ece11 Pecha Kucha session, saying s/he felt a bit stressed trying to get the timing right and stay within 20 seconds. I imagine one would have to approach this totally differently from typical Powerpoint presenting. With PK, you might have to de-couple your words from the images, and take each of those as a whole entity on its own, which you then artistically weave together. Or something!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: