Last week I attended (and spoke at) my first Bettakultcha. Bettakultcha has events in Leeds, Bradford, and coming up soon Huddersfield. Open to all, 20 slides x 15 seconds each, autoforwarded, the only rule is no pitches. Not having a huge amount of time to spend thinking about it, as I’m still working on the Handbook, I talked about 100 Objects (well, 19 of them).
Why I like Bettakultcha:
1. The constraints encourage you to be creative. I was amazed at the different ways the presenters came up with using their slots. We had a song about gender politics, an intro to rugby league with audience participation, a chat about typography featuring bits of actual type, and loads more.
2. It’s hard. There’s no going back. You don’t have control of the slides, so you can’t flip around. You can’t stop and reorient yourself if things go wrong as you can with most presentations: the slides carry on and you have to keep up. But, it’s a supportive environment, which makes it great training for doing something like this for real. Anyone who pitches, teaches or otherwise has to communicate under pressure would learn a lot.
3. It made me revisit the value of Powerpoint. It’s a tool, it can be used for images and some strong text. It doesn’t have to have twenty dull things per slide. All the talks were greatly enhanced by the images used.
4. (The bit I like best). The tech is all done for you. Send 20 slides in advance and they arrive all ready on someone else’s laptop. No stress! No 5 minutes between each presentation messing about with memory sticks and clicking on things! No turning up to a strange room and not being able to do your show! Hoorah!
5. It’s outside the “library echo chamber” (see wikiman’s blog for more about this concept). Bettakultcha is full of all sorts of people, sharing cool stuff that they care about in new ways.