With all of the dramatic changes taking place in the Bay Area due to development and gentrification, Oakland cultural workers and entrepreneurs Ashara Ekundayo, Jeff Perlstein and Mike Nicholls are igniting a community conversation at their collaborative event called PechaKucha Night Oakland.
What Does PechaKucha mean?
PechaKucha is derived from a Japanese term meaning the sound of conversation, or chit-chat. PechaKucha Night, now in over 700 cities, was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for designers to meet, network, and share their work in a creative, social and informal setting with friends. Each presenter is allowed 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds, for a total of 6 minutes 40 seconds of floor time before the next presenter is up. This fast paced format keeps presenters succinct.
This Saturday, PechaKucha Night Oakland will bring together a dynamic mix of presenters from all domains of creative activity, including activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, fabricators and makers to present on the theme of Place/Making/Place, exploring how Oakland’s creative class can help define a policy strategy for development and community building at a city-wide level. Ten presenters will share their interpretations of place and identity as it relates to making and maintaining a neighborhood, a relationship, a business or a community.
Keith ‘K-Dub’ Williams, one of Saturday night’s presenters, has been leading the charge to repair and improve the skate park in West Oakland’s DeFremery Park, which is often called “Town Park.” His organization also produces skateboard and youth art festivals in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, giving young people a creative platform to share their skills. Williams says Oakland residents, youth and artists need to “define a new direction for Oakland or it will be something like what the Mission has become — only recognizable by the street names.”
Designer Deanna Van Buren from Fourm Design Studio will also be presenting on Saturday night. Van Buren calls out residents and artists to be more pro-active about engaging innovators and policy makers “in dialogue around the importance of place-making that supports the kind of communities we want to see.”