Campus Life

Library looks to engage with students

PechaKucha was introduced to the University of Lethbridge campus recently as the U of L Library's Student Engagement Team (SET) hosted a PechaKucha event as part of the University's International Week.

Seven presenters, including faculty, staff and one international student, spoke on internationally-themed topics ranging from a winter road trip to Alaska to anthropological field work in Indonesia.

The Student Engagement Team was formed in the fall of 2010 to provide leadership within the University Library on all services and activities that support the strategic direction of enhancing the student experience. The group is interested in finding new ways to engage students both academically and socially.

"When the International Centre for Students asked us to be a part of International Week we were eager to participate," says event organizer Heather Nicholson.

She adds that SET was particularly interested in finding an activity that would engage international students. Nicholson and SET co-chair Nicole Eva had read about PechaKucha and were looking for an opportunity to put it into practice.

PechaKucha, a term derived from the Japanese word for chit-chat, is a simple presentation format where 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each. The images forward automatically while a presenter speaks to them. The presentation style was developed by two architects in Tokyo in 2003 who wanted to provide a space and an opportunity for designers to share new ideas, but in a fast-paced and entertaining format. Since 2004, PechaKucha events have been spreading to other cities around the world. Currently there are regular PechaKucha nights running in more than 260 cities worldwide on an unlimited number of topics.

While PechaKucha is not well known around Lethbridge, all participants and attendees expressed enthusiasm about the event. One particularly moving presentation was given by University Librarian Glenna Westwood, who spoke about her emotional voyage to Ghana in May 2010. Westwood and her father (retired U of L professor Bill Cook) made their first return journey to the West African country after spending five years there in the 1970s.

PechaKucha Night is trademarked and run by a global foundation. For more information about PechaKucha visit

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