Omar Jaramillo Traverso is a member of the global non-profit artist network Urban Sketchers, which is dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of locational drawing. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The idea of giving a presentation may seem daunting to some, but imagine what difference it would make if you only had 20 seconds to show 20 slides.

A 20x20 format is exactly what each of the 12 participants at a Pecha Kucha night have to give their presentation — on any topic of their choice.

Nights even start at 20:20 (8.20pm)

"From a proposal for a beautifully-designed recycling centre to someone's secret passion for park benches, you never know what is coming next.

"The resulting multi-themed and fast paced conversation is what inspires the name: Pecha Kucha is Japanese for the sound of ‘chatter'," Tarane Ali Khan, communications and consulting, at The Third Line Gallery where the nights are held, told Gulf News.

New ideas

With growing communities of creative types and bustling art scenes, she continued, an international population and the constant quest for new ideas, this forum is a perfect fit for Dubai, "to push the boundaries just that little bit more".

"Pecha Kucha is an opportunity for people to network and cross-pollinate concepts in an informal and open-minded space," she said.

The nights were devised and copyrighted by an architecture firm in Tokyo, but have now spread — through word of mouth — to more than 372 cities worldwide. Dubai was the first city in the Middle East to hold a Pecha Kucha night, in 2007.

Participants selected are chosen for their proposed "idea, hobby or cause that they stand for and how the Pecha Kucha platform can gain that specific idea," Ali Khan said. Presenters have ranged from artists, architects, dancers, musicians, photographers and graphic designers to environmentalists, an activist, skateboarders and educators.

Videos and live performances can be included in the 20-second time slots; this also keeps talks concise and forces each verbal or visual presentation to adhere to strict planning, for the strongest impact.

"The fast paced mix of presentations keeps the evening interesting and gives more people the chance to be involved," Ali Khan said.

Next up

The next Pecha Kucha will be held at the Third Line on January 19. Laura Egerton, curator for the Art Dubai Abraaj Capital Art Prize, will present the objective and aim of the prize, benefits for participants and also the wider cultural community, during the evening.

Omar Jaramillo Traverso will also be presenting: he is a member of the global non-profit artists' network Urban Sketchers, which is dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of on-location drawing.

Pecha Kucha nights are held quarterly, with new presenters and topics every time (presenters are decided upon one month in advance of the night). Applications are welcome and entry on the night is free.

Pecha Kucha Dubai is jointly organised by the Third Line (Al Quoz), fashion house S*uce, and gallery/design studio Traffic.