PechaKucha Manchester Night: Event Review

PechaKucha Night Manchester Vol. 24 – ‘Disruption’ at Fairfield Social Club.

It’s great to see events like this sold out. I honestly had a great night (partly helped with the amazing beers on offer at Fairfield Social club – you just can’t beat a nice fruity IPA). There’s so much here for everyone, whether you are into the arts, or a community advocate, or business owner, there is so much to learn whilst listening to a range of different speakers. And well done to them! There were a ton of people there, it can’t be easy to present, and follow the 20 x 20 structure too.

PechaKucha are event planners. ‘…for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.’ The basis of the talks are that each speaker has ’20 images, 20 seconds per image, no stopping’. This event was part of the Design MCR festival, and the theme of the night was ‘disruption.’

As well as the talks, there was a workshop by Foilco, their sales director was one of the speakers. This ran at the beginning and during the break of the night. Participants went and played with foiling (I don’t know if that’s the correct terminology – sorry) basically making things cool and shiny with foil.

There was also the Art Swap. People bought artwork from their homes, donated it, and were given another piece of art in return (chosen randomly). What a great idea! A new way to refresh your art collection free of charge.

And, as well as all that, there was a little art workshop in the break ran by Elaborate. They were creating collages form found pieces, magazines and ripped up paper.

So you have all this going on alongside the main event that is the talks. And, as an added bonus, there were two guests speakers who had a small section before the 20 x 20 speakers started. The night opened with the community group – Open Spaces. This group aim to use disused retailer spaces around Stockport and taking them over with artists and creators, decorating the empty spaces, using the same as workshops and studios etc.

The second speaker was Arrest all Mimics; ‘We bring you the inside story from the most exciting people and projects across the creative industries.’ This organisation create podcasts of a huge variety of creative interviews and talks.A good quote of the night ‘Manchester are not asking for permission, we’re just doing it.’

Now to the main event, the 20 x 20 speakers. Here is a run through of my favourites:

Matt Hornby: Sales Director, Foilco. He struggled with the speed of 20 x 20, it was very funny, he stumbled and called out how he couldn’t keep up. They are a family business and it was this company that ran the foil workshop through the night. A jazzy graphics company, who said that they ‘make things shiny and fancy’.

Vikas Shah MBE: Entrepreneur, Investor, Professor. Vikas was great, a truly emotional talk. He opened up about really difficult times in his life and how words and poetry helped him through that. Very encouraging. Very powerful. A great talk!

Liam Hopkins: Designer and Founder, Lazerian. He was hilarious. Liam designs and creates artwork, furniture and installations all from cardboard. He told stories of how sprinklers wrecked his work, and how a man driving a fork lift truck destroyed his studio! He was a really honest, to-the-f**king-point kind of guy. Plus, his work was sweet.

RECLAIM: A youth leadership and social change organisation. They were pretty inspiring. Their drive is to empower the young folk of Leigh. They want to make the town a better place by asking the younger generation what they want to do with their town and their education.

There are some points where I think the night could improve though. Perhaps on entry, they could explain where everything is and how/when you can get involved. i.e, Foilco up the stairs, art workshop at the break etc. They did this at the introduction of the talks instead.

For the Art Swap, there was mixed messages on social media and the events page. It wasn’t clear if you had to be the creator of the art, or if you can bring any art you have. It’s a great idea but it wasn’t clear who could get involved.

There was a speaker talking about Newcastle! I don’t want to be a horrible and name names as their talk was good, it’s by no means a critic of said speaker. But why are we talking about Newcastle? It’s 3 hours drive away! It felt like we were getting sucked into that bubble of ‘the north’ but come on, Newcastle?

The last thing, the theme was ‘Disruption’ but hardly any of the talks actually related to disruption. There were a lot of tenuous lines of ‘this is would we are disrupting the creative scene.’ It’s not a huge critic because it meant the speakers pretty muted talked about their own practice, which was fascinating. I don’t think there needs to be theme at all really.

That aside, the had a great night here. I know I have thoroughly enjoyed a lot of the events and exhibitions I have been too recently. I feel like a need to go to a crappy one just to mix it up. But honestly, this was really good! Not only have we learnt a lot about people and their businesses, we gained a lot of leads from it and a lot of ideas how to develop Cotton On MCR as a whole! So watch this space!

The next PechaKucha event will be 6th December. Keep your eyes on the PechaKucha website and Instagram @pechakucha_mcr to find out about their next events.

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