“Children of the Revolution” by T.Rex echoed through the room. It was an inspirational evening packed with innovative presentations by local artists at North Lanarkshire Heritage Centre in Motherwell.
North Lanarkshire Council’s Visual Arts Development Officer Ann Louise Kieran opened the event with a powerful speech, while Music Development Officer Aaron Hawthorne, led us through the evening by introducing each speaker.
This Pecha Kucha Night promised to be a special treat for the audience. In accordance with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival’s theme this year, the event focussed on the topic of revolution. Each of the seven artists delivered a short talk accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. The catch: They had 20 slides and exactly 20 seconds time for each slide. All presentations were about 7 minutes long. These are the rules of Pecha Kucha.
Pecha Kucha is Japanese and means chit-chat in English. This storytelling format goes back to a desire to talk less and show more. It creates excitement due to the time constraints and helps to keep the audience’s attention. I have to admit I had never heard of this term before but I think the presentations were amazing and highlighted the speakers’ creativity.
First up on the night was Conor Blessing, a fashion designer fighting his own industry. Then, Hamshya Rajkumar talked about an ecological revolution. This was followed by Kristine Walker, who talked about creating an art revolution and boosting confidence by teaching people how to paint. John Farrell discussed the role of urban landscapes and mental health within photography.
After a short break, the audience engaged in a vivid open mic discussion about mental health and the presentations, and thought-provoking questions were asked and answered.
After that, Eilidh Manson gave a talk on mental health and recycling. John Martin Fulton introduced plans for a new memorial in a local park. Wilma Smith finished the event with a visual response to death, memory and loss and Smith’s short film Missed Calls was screened. This impressive work contained voicemail recordings of Smith’s mum and dad.
Overall, the event showcased budding North Lanarkshire artists and their creative ideas regarding mental health awareness and support.
Dr Antje Bothin is a Talking Heads volunteer living in Lanarkshire. She has authored an inspiring book on a treasure hunt around Iceland featuring a character with selective mutism. When not writing, she can be found volunteering in nature or drinking tea. Read more of her work on her blog.