PechaKucha, Oakland Style: Thinking, Drinking and Talking about Community

Fourm Design Studio's model and city montage called "Restorative Justice City." (Fourm Design Studio)

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.”

Fourm 2
Image from Fourm Design Studio’s mapping exercise at Impact Hub Oakland with local restorative justice leaders to envision a new Oakland. (Fourm Design Studio)

PechaKucha Night Oakland organizer Jeff Perlstein from SoleSpace says, “It’s a night of ‘thinking while drinking’ in Uptown Oakland.”

PechaKucha Night Oakland, Vol. 4 will be held on Saturday July 26, 2014 from 7-11pm at Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway. For tickets and information, visit

PechaKucha, Oakland Style: Thinking, Drinking and Talking about Community 24 July,2014Siouxsie Oki

  • Haw Haw

    Look. All your drunk, artist chit-chat isn’t going to do anything unless you get together to BUY property in Oakland. Artists (and arts organizations) who rent will be the first ones run out of town when gentrification hits. If you are serious about preventing what happened in SF to the artists and arts, then go buy buildings, houses etc. Property ownership is your only, REAL tool to combat the moneyed interests who can’t wait to swoop in and buy up stuff once the artists have made it cool.

    nuff said.


Siouxsie Oki

Siouxsie is an activist and artist, dedicated to building community by celebrating the diverse voices and perspectives of the Bay Area. She directs KQED’s community engagement efforts, developing dynamic partnerships throughout our coverage area utilizing local and national content to foster two-way engagement and collaboration between different industries, organizations and audience segments.

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