By Jay Pham
Students of Pensacola State College (PSC) are fortunate to have instructors that engage the students and are willing to go the extra mile to engage with the community.
PSC instructors Amber Carey and Andrew Barbero, along with four other participants, presented at the innovative PechaKucha (PKN) Volume 11 event held at First City Arts Center on Jan. 6.
The theme of Volume 11 was “Celebrate!” bringing together presenters and audience members of diverse backgrounds to discuss different aspects of that topic.
Carey is a Spanish instructor and Robinson Honors Program director at PSC. She spoke about the benefits of learning a different language at a young age.
Even though Carey is a seasoned teacher, being a first-time presenter at PKN, the 20×20 format kept her on her feet.
“I do this for a living. I stand and speak in front of people, with slides as well, daily. However, it’s a little different speaking in front of a diverse crowd. I enjoyed it, but it is a little nerve-racking.” Carey said.
Barbero is the Lyceum series director and instructor of history and humanities. He celebrated history and teaching by presenting his favorite course slides to the audience.
“Any opportunities to spread art and culture in the public sphere– those are great things, and I’m happy to be a part of them,” Barbero said.
In 2003, PKN was founded with the intention of perfecting concise presentation. PKN, which translates to “chit-chat” or “blah-blah” in Japanese, spread to Pensacola in Nov. 2014.
It uniquely utilizes a 20×20 format, where each presenter has 20 slides and 20 seconds each slide to speak about their topic of choice based on a theme.
Josh Green is an artist and co-organizer of Creative Circle. He spoke about celebrating the details of art. He found the task of being in the time constraints annoying, yet fun.
“Writing the speech was difficult while trying to link it up with the photos. It’s exciting. It makes you cut out anything extra and get right to the point.” Green said.
Troy Moon, a Pensacola News Journal (PNJ) feature reporter and columnist, joked during his presentation that he didn’t like the idea of speaking about celebration, but rather subjects he was more accustomed to.
“I would have punted and asked to present at the next event, when the theme was, I don’t know, ‘melancholy,’ ‘gloom’ or ‘erectile dysfunction,’ subjects I’m comfortable with.” Moon said.
Moon was the only presenter that chose to ignore his slides; he chose instead to focus on the message and timing itself.
“I was a little nervous speaking. I express myself through writing. It was fun though. I’m 55, so, I can use that excitement,” Moon said. “I just talked. Some people are really good at matching up, I just said let them play.”
Marilyn Oberhausen, a retired college professor, heard about the event via PNJ and decided to check it out. “I’m looking forward to the next time. In fact, I want to do one myself. I want to be one of the presenters. Like Troy says, “words matter,” and when you get too wordy, you lose your audience.”
Angie West-Robinson educated the crowd about Sankofa, the African bird that represents going back to finish what you started. As the executive director of the African American Heritage Society (AAHS), her presentation spread cultural awareness about African American life.
“I thought [the event] was great. It has a very organic, artistic, energy and vibe to it-which I really enjoy.” West-Robinson said.
Instead of speaking about culture or teaching, Christian Wagley brought awareness to the benefits of riding a bicycle in the community.
Wagley is a Gulf Restoration Network advocate and Slow Ride Pensacola coordinator. He shared his experience of not owning a car and developing interpersonal relationships with people on his day-to-day rides.
Although many presenters were nervous, Wagley says the welcoming environment helped ease his nerves.
“I actually felt fine, because the people here are very welcoming. I felt very comfortable but nervous with the time constraint.” Wagley said. “I would love to come back as a spectator, as an attendee, as a listener and if I ever got invited to present again. I would love to do that again.” he said.
Marina Christina’s first time co-coordinating PKN, was Vol. 5 in Dec. 2015. “It’s grown extraordinarily with the amount of volunteers that we have, the amount of people that put effort in.” Christina said. “This time, we ran out of chairs. It’s here, people want this.”
Volume 11, was co-coordinated by Christina, along with Felipe Muñoz, Becca Carlson, and Chris Jadallah.
Beer was sponsored by the Emerald Republic Brewing Company to help warm guests on the chilly night, with hot coffee being generously provided by Open Books Bookstore.
To be engaged with PKN, more information on the event can be found at www.pechakucha.org/cities/pensacola.