The PechaKucha

3652703098_c59793479b_oPechaKucha (“puh-CHACH-ka”) is a presentation format that encourages brevity and focus. You make an argument linked to 20 slides, each displayed for 20 seconds — or for 6 minutes and 40 seconds altogether.

In my assignments, I require your slides to be only images: no written language of any kind is allowed. The only words that matter are the ones coming out of your mouth. That means no cartoons, no annotated charts or graphs. Your argument accompanies your images like a voice-over, but one you (typically) deliver live. 

So how do you find these images? Start by searching Flickr with Compfight, which has a nice interface and only returns photos with a Creative Commons licence — meaning their creators offer them for non-commercial uses. Find images that reveal an unexpected angle on your argument; try some unexpected search terms (i.e. metaphors, not literal meanings) and see what happens. Your images should be, in the words of this format’s inventors, “a box of chocolates.”

Each image will advance automatically after 20 seconds (thus you have just 6 minutes and 40 seconds).

  • If you opt to present your PechaKucha live, in class, I strongly advise you to rehearse your talk a few times.
  • If you’d prefer to record your presentation in advance (a narrated slideshow), that’s fine. We’ll play it in class.

Why opt for this format? Because just like a rhyme scheme, formal constraints enable creative thinking. PechaKuchas require careful preparation (about 6 hours, in one estimate) and rehearsal to ensure that your slides contain just the right image to suit your argument, and that your argument is pithy and focused enough to cover the necessary ground in 20 x 20-second chunks.



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