June 1, 2012

Med school faculty, staff show off art at PechaKucha

Medicine and art don't go hand in hand, so for a group of faculty and staff recently, having an outlet to express their creativity was mightily appreciated.

"Everyone here is doing medicine and science. Let's get something creative going," said Mary Simmons, organizer of the first PechaKucha 20x20 event at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

PechaKucha 2012, held Thursday in the school's Margherio Conference Center, was sponsored by the offices of Medical Education and Faculty Affairs and Professional Development. It featured six presenters discussing everything from photos taken in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to a Post-It note art project featuring mundane office objects drawn at lunch in a WSU cubicle.

PechaKucha, a Japanese word for "chit-chat," is a fairly new presentation method in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each - six minutes and 40 seconds total. Presentations can be on any subject, but can be no longer.

"There are talented individuals (here) that love to share what they're doing beyond medicine," said Simmons, Humanities in Medicine co-curricular instructor and manager of Design Services and Digital Imaging in the Office of Medical Education's Bio-Medical Communications.

According to Pecha-Kucha.org, the idea was originally conceived in 2003 in Tokyo as a venue for designers to meet, show their work, exchange ideas and network while keeping the event both concise and informative.

Simmons attended a PechaKucha in the area earlier in the year, and liked it so much she decided to organize one for the School of Medicine.

Her presentation, Eye Candy, used colorful photographs she shot in Hawaii, Florida and Michigan, and she urged the audience to look for their own "eye candy" - beauty - all around them.

In addition to Simmons, presenters included Fiscal Affairs budget analyst Maria Bologna, Clinical Skills Technology Administrator Phil Gilchrist, Psychiatry Professor Arthur Robin, M.D., Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs and Development Roberta Sonnino, M.D., and Family Medicine Senior Practice Administrator Julie Vitale.

Simmons said she'll likely make PechaKucha a semi-regular event, and hopes to engage medical students in a future event. To inquire, email mcsimmon@med.wayne.edu

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