SXSW 101: All You Need to Know About the Upcoming Event
We are more than excited to announce that the UX Connections team will be attending SXSW in Austin, Texas this coming March! This is a great opportunity for us to stay updated on tech and ux trends, information and innovation. So, we wanted to create a little ‘SXSW 101’ to introduce the festival to our followers who may or may not know much about it at all, as well as discussing this year’s themes and tracks, so you know what we can expect to encounter during our time there.
Let’s start from the beginning. South By South West (abbreviated to SXSW) is an annual collection of film, interactive media and musical festivals, as well as conferences, that take place in mid-to-late March in Austin, Texas. The first SXSW was held in 1987, as a music and media festival, and has grown exponentially every year since. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that the film and technology segment were added, and what we know today as SXSW was truly born. The core attraction for us, as a tech-focused company, is SXSW Interactive – the area that focuses on emerging technologies, and includes trade shows, talks, and startup accelerators. Defined by visitors as ‘an essential destination for global professionals’ and ‘a technological pilgrimage’, it welcomes a high-profile crowd in terms of those who have stood as keynote speakers in the past – such as Mark Zuckerberg, or even Barack Obama. Some of the most successful tech and innovation-centred companies have kicked off their apps at SXSW, even Twitter and Foursquare. This means, the technologies seen and discussed there could potentially be the mainstream in the future.
Despite the fact that there were no in-person events available in the past two years, SXSW is returning to Austin in 2022, and UX Connections is glad to be able to join the festival with forward-thinking creatives, especially when the 5 themes announced this year are so thought-provoking and of our interest. The themes that set the tone for SXSW 2022 are: Discovering the Undiscovered, Built for the Future, We’re All Connected, The Evolving Media Landscape and The Power of Inclusivity. Speakers from different sectors will discuss their visions and breakthroughs pertaining to these subjects. We can expect inspiring talks from: tech innovators about how cutting-edge technology can help with the universal problems that humans are facing; statesmen discussing how thoughtfully-designed policies can leave our descendants a sustainable planet; industry leaders debating how cross-border cooperation can tackle unprecedented crises such as Covid-19; digital creatives talking about how the era of metaverse is going to change the future of media industry; and from non-profit organisation founders considering how embracing diverse perspectives can lead to a better and more inclusive society.
SXSW 2022 Conference & Festivals will take place between 11th – 20th March. The conferences are organised into 15 tracks and labelled by the categories of Interactive, Film, Music and Convergence. There is no doubt that all tracks of programming are intriguing, but as a UX agency, the Interactive tracks are by all means the most appealing to us. This includes tracks such as Design, Health & MedTech, Tech Industry, Advertising & Brand Experience, Transportation and 2050, all spanning over 9 days. What’s more, it has been announced that technological heavyweights such as the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Dr. Albert Bourla, the CEO of Accenture Interactive David Droga, and the Senior Director of Design at Adobe Khoi Vinh are invited as speakers.
Clearly, SXSW is an extremely well-known, forward-thinking festival that hosts some of the biggest names in the industry, and attracts around 300,000 visitors each year. Of course we should be there, to be inspired by the best! We are looking forward to learning everything we can, getting inspired, visiting a new city together and doing it all together, as a team. SXSW, here we come!
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