SXSW Interactive loosens its belt, expands to 14 venues
The South by Southwest Interactive Festival may not be as loud as the music festival or as red-carpet-friendly as SXSW Film, but there is no doubt that it's the big dog – so big that this year it will stretch across 14 Downtown campuses, from the Palmer Events Center to the AT&T Conference Center. Festival Event Director Hugh Forrest explained, "It's certainly a big change from having everything at the Austin Convention Center, but for better or worse, we've outgrown that space."
Conference regulars, fear not: The convention center remains the hub, but there will be additional panels at many Downtown hotels. Each campus is themed, so digital reporters will probably spend most of their time at the Sheraton for the Journalism & Online Content strand, while experts in lifestyles and sports will want to hang out at the stately Driskill. Forrest said, "The idea is that if you are interested in one particular topic, you can go to that one particular campus and find that kind of content."
That thematic approach sounds like a nice idea, but Forrest admitted that it creates new problems, especially since there is "a lot of bleed over" in topics. Cue headaches for his schedulers. He pondered, "If you have a panel on how social media can help your business, does that go on the social track or the business track?" The biggest challenge will be retaining the sense of cross-pollination between specialties so that Web developers don't just hang with other Web developers but also rub elbows with filmmakers and social scientists. "This campus structure in some ways diminishes those kind of opportunities," said Forrest, "so we definitely encourage people to go to campuses that they're less familiar with."
For panel-hoppers, most campuses are within easy walking distance of each other, and there will be regular shuttle buses. For anyone worried about losing a seat, the conference will also simulcast the big keynote speeches, starting with The Onion's Digital Director Baratunde Thurston on Saturday, March 10. Other keynote speakers include cyborg anthropologist and TED regular Amber Case and Code for America founder Jennifer Pahlka. However, the big "get" has to be Ray Kurzweil. Aside from being one of futurism's philosopher kings, his creative fingerprints are on tech turning points like flatbed scanners and speech-recognition software. Time for another SXSW innovation: With Kurzweil's son Ethan hosting his own panel, Forrest said, "It's the first father-son duo we've had."
Robert Faires, Fri., March 15, 2013
Andy Campbell, Fri., March 15, 2013
Melanie Haupt, Fri., March 15, 2013
Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 15, 2013
Jessi Cape, Fri., March 15, 2013
Richard Whittaker, Fri., April 6, 2012
James Renovitch, Fri., March 30, 2012
Jon Lebkowsky, Fri., March 2, 2012
James Renovitch, Fri., March 2, 2012
James Renovitch, Fri., Jan. 27, 2012
Film Review Misses Mark Please make a note not to print any more movie reviews of big action movies by Kimberley Jones. She gets ...
What's the Big Deal? I'm baffled by this obsession with Mueller. I drove through it out of curiosity and it's a suburban nightmare that ...
No Mystery in School Bond Failures How out of touch has the Chronicle become with the voting populace of this city? From the article “Bonds: Death ...
Program Is Vital Resource I am responding to your article on ACCESS News, the program by and for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. The ...
Finding Rail Route Complicated Michael King, in “The Reading Railroad”, while making valuable points, seems to state that finding an initial route for urban ...
- Follow us@AustinChronicle