PechaKucha vs BettaKulcha

On Thursday 14th March I attended a PechaKucha event organised by PechaKucha Huddersfield and the Huddersfield Literature Festival. PechaKucha is presentation style where speakers talk on something they are interested in using 20 slides with each slide being shown for 20 seconds.

The evening had a literary flavour, with the 10 presenters taking inspiration from the theme of books and literature.  The talks covered religion, childhood passions, libraries, self-help, chewing gum art … the list goes on.

It was an interesting and inspiring evening and I enjoyed the fast pace and hearing from the range of fascinating people who were there to talk about something that was important to them.  I did spend way too much time asking ‘how do you pronounce PechaKucha again?’ and I still haven’t got my tongue around it.  (One person’s reply: ‘Doesn’t it sound a bit like Pikachu?’ didn’t exactly help in that instance!)

Then on Tuesday 19th March I attended Bettakulcha night at the University of Huddersfield.  Ivor Tymchak was leading the evening and he described Bettakulcha as “slideshows by passionate people”.  There were 11 speakers on the night and each with 20 slides lasting 15 seconds per slide.  The only other rule seemed to be ‘no sales pitches’.

The presentations ranged from how to survive a zombie apocalypse to being a first time buyer, via adoption, creativity, music and letter-writing.  You can get a feel for the way it works by watching some of the videos on the website.

While the PechaKulcha night had a theme running through the presentations the Bettakulcha night offered a real mix of people and ideas.  I appreciated both approaches and thought both worked well.  I’d like to attend another PettaKucha event that wasn’t themed as part of the Literature festical to get a true feel for the event, although as a book lover, the theme was ideal for me!

I left both events thinking about how I could use what I’d seen in a library context and my observations and ideas are as follows:

  • At both events presenters tended to avoid putting words on their slides.  Slides that did contain lengthy quotes tended to cause the speakers problems, as the slide would advance before they’d had time to read the quote.  The simplicity of using a well selected image to make a point really struck me.
  • All the presentations, even the ones with a more serious message, had elements of humour.  This got me thinking about our presentations in the library and how, if possible, we could add a bit of comedy.  Of course, there’s always a danger that the message could get lost or that our idea of what is funny will be a far cry from what our students think is funny.  I did wonder if there was any way we could design our library induction around the theme of a Zombie Apocalypse!  I might not be able to pull that one off, but I’d definitely like to look at making the libray induction more fun and memorable.
  • I also thought how fantastic it was that people’s passions came across so well.  It can be hard to sound passionate and excited when you’re presenting on Harvard Referencing for example, but if as presenters we can show our enthusism for our subjects that’s a big plus for the people listening.
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