Pecha Kucha.

For many years I've been interested in the concept of Pecha Kucha (without, I confess, doing much about it).

Here is a description of what it is:

PechaKucha (Japanese: ペチャクチャ, IPA: [petɕa ku͍̥tɕa], chit-chat) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, powers multiple-speaker events called PechaKucha Nights (PKNs).

(With apologies if the Japanese or IPA characters there cause problems with any screen readers)

More recently since becoming VI I have wondered how such a presentation could work for the blind and partially sighted.

I guess for those who, like me, are visually impaired but not blind to the point where they can't see images at all there would only need to be a large screen and the use of a reasonably high level of contrast but it's the thought of how to present such a thing so as to be completely accessible to those who are fully blind.

I was wondering if maybe using 20 'soundscapes' instead of 20 images would work well and also whether it would work better with those soundscapes as background noise or maybe instead 10 seconds of soundscape with 10 seconds of 'chat'.

So I thought I'd put it out there. Pecha Kucha was invented as an antidote to long, boring powerpoint presentations but has become an artform in itself.

How could we best translate this audiovisual artform into a more audible experience?

Comments (7)

Amy 2's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Amy 2

I'd never heard of this before but it's a really interesting concept. There are no Pecha Kucha events planned in my town right now. When there are I for one would like to go along and think about ways to make them accessible or inclusive. Thanks for making me aware of something new!

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to Amy 2 by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Glad to have inspired you =D

(Now here's a thought. Do Screenreaders pick up on smilies and emoji yet? I've just put the smiley for a grinning face but I suspect a lot of screen readres might just render that as "equals dee" or "equals capital dee")

Neil_S's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by Neil_S

I also have never heard of this Japanese concept called PechaKucha. Although in sone ways it sounds an interesting concept for sighted people I cannot think how you would adapt it easily to be accessible to the totally blind. The nearest I can think of is passing around some form of tactile object representing the slide, but then this would surely take much longer unless you apply a stopwatch to looking at one object and then passing it on or the more expensive option in terms of costs in having multiple copies of the same object.
I am sure there is also a saying that a picture describes a thousand words. If this is so, then that is a lot of description to portray to a totally blind person!
Something along the lines might already be available in the form of a charity called LivingPaintings. The name is a bit misleading as it is basically tactile art forms in a type of styrofilm that represent real art or sculptures along with an audio description on CD or tape. Perhaps this is the nearest equivalent if used in a small group and passed around.

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to Neil_S by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Funnily enough, although it came from Japan I believe it was a British company in Japan that first thought of it.

I'm loving the extra input into the idea. I hadn't really thought beyond sound in terms of what could replace the visible slide, and perhaps means of making the picture simpler or clearer for those who are partially sighted. Having sound has the obvious problem of either limiting the time for the speech part of the 'Pecha Kucha' or risking making it harder to hear what the person is saying. I suppose the speech part could stand alone although again if extra description of the image is added in it leaves less time for whatever else is to be said. So moving on to tactile pictures and other forms of sensory stimulation could work. The use of smell could be interesting. I heard recently that the human nose could identify billions of different smells. Working that into a Pecha Kucha could represent a challenge in and of itself. Keep thinking on it. Maybe we could start something interesting. Multisensory pecha kucha anyone?

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Here's the thing. If we try and match Pecha Kucha in timescale and specifics we might not be able to pull anything off. But if we attempt to match philiosophy and adapt it slightly we could do a VI version.

So, like many of the Japanese forms it borrows from Pecha Kucha uses a limited concept based around a philosophy. The philosophy is of a dynamic short form presentation.

If a picture is worth 1000 words and a word, at average talking speed of a presenter is about 2 fifths of a second (Which it, roughly, is) then each slide would be a further 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This would take the whole presentation to 1 hour and 20 minutes so we can't just substitute words for pictures (nor do I think anyone was saying this). However by the use of music and other sound and the other methods mentioned (tactile and other sensory input) plus slightly increasing the length of time given overall we could posssibly come up with a different short form to communicate in.

Maybe if we put out a 25/25 format. 25 seconds per section. 25 sections. Each section having a distinctiveness and something other than speech within it. That leaves us at 10 minutes 25 seconds per presentation.

I'm going to work on this in some of my spare time to try and do a VI Pecha Kucha. Will post a youtube link to it when I'm done (won't necessarily be any time soon). Mine will be something to do with music - I'm still musing on the details, no pun intended.

SteveW's picture

Reply to -InTheWorldOfTheBlind- by SteveW

I haven't heard of this either- but it sounds interesting. Is it purely visual or is there a commentary as well? Maybe instead of trying to translate existing Pecha Kucha into a VI form they could be written specifically for a blind audience with narration, music or whatever. 20 slides seems a lot for a VI to follow- maybe there is a trade-off with fewer, but longer sections?
Will follow this with interest

-InTheWorldOfTheBlind-'s picture

Reply to SteveW by -InTheWorldOfTheBlind-

Glad you find it interesting! It was originally designed for business presentations to produce a format which moved away from people droning their way through complex slide presentations. Believe me - a PowerPoint presentation can use a LOT more than 20 slides. The philosophy was that a punchy presentation would actually be more beneficial because people wouldn't lose interest.

The original format would be pictures and commentary.

So yes, what I'd love to witness being created is something more accessible and less reliant on just the imagery or even just the format.
The 6 minute 20 second format is purported to work really well.

Your comment on less sections made me think... Maybe a 15/30 format would work well (15 sections 30 seconds in length). That would give an extra 10 seconds per section to comment/ play sounds / show pictures / provide tactile information / etc