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Diamond Presentations

On the basis of their increasing popularity among scholars and with the inspiration of successful presentations undertaken since the 2010 Annual Meeting, the American Folklore Society invites individual and organized session proposals in what we are calling the Diamond format, a formalized presentation genre structured by time and images:

Individual Diamond presentations are seven minutes long and are organized around 21 slides that are set to advance automatically every 20 seconds.

Audience response to such presentations have been very enthusiastic, and the format offers a number of specific advantages:

  • As with the highly structured expressive genres that folklorists have often studied, this format calls upon presenters to be creative and selective in organizing their presentations.
  • Focused presentations and images aid and engage audiences, even those unfamiliar with the topic or those whose first language differs from that of the presenter.
  • This format is valuable not only for presenting image-based topics (such as studies of material culture or cultural performance), but also for all presenters concerned with visual communication and those who wish to experiment with visual techniques to enhance communication.
  • This format is an easy starting point for the creation of audio slidecasts and small digital exhibitions—more durable modes of scholarly communication valuable to diverse online audiences—as well as in such settings as media kiosks in gallery exhibitions.
  • The brevity of the format allows extra time for discussion.
  • Brief but structured, the format supports multidimensional, open-ended presentations, making it very appropriate for the presentation of new projects or works-in-progress.

You may submit proposals for individual Diamond presentations, which the Program Committee will group into sessions, or organized Diamond sessions of six to ten presentations. All Diamond sessions will be constructed with an initial seven minutes allotted for preparation and introduction of the session as a whole, seven minutes for each Diamond presentation, time for questions between presentations, and the balance of the available time dedicated to discussion of the full set of presentations. At the discretion of the session chair, the discussion time may be used for response by a formal discussant, open "full room” questions and answers, break-out time in which presenters can confer with interested audience members, or a combination of these discussion formats.

For those who would like to know more about the sources of inspiration for this format, there is much discussion around the web of a variety of similar (but not identical) formats, including the format known as Pecha-Kucha, developed in the design fields in Japan. Some of these are associated with formally trademarked brands of presentation events. Also available online are videos and slidecasts of presentations made in these related formats:

A YouTube version of Jason Jackson’s AFS 2010 Diamond presentation on the Open Folklore project:

A YouTube version of Michael Dylan Foster's AFS 2010 Diamond presention, ""The Fall and Rise of the "Tourist Guy": Humor and Pathos in Photoshop Folklore": filmed onsite, or screencast (slide and voice alone).

A Pecha-Kucha presentation on YouTube:

"Hate Long, Rambling Speeches? Try Pecha-Kucha" by Lucy Craft [NPR on Pecha-Kucha]:

A discussion of Pecha-Kucha in anthropology with links to examples and information:

The Pecha-Kucha Organization:

On Lightning Talks:

On the Ignite Format and Events:

Search also "Pecha Kucha" in YouTube, "Death by PowerPoint," "Ignite," "Lightning Talks," and Wikipedia.

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