SXSW Interactive: A Community Focused Approach
What does community mean to you? At SXSW Interactive, it informs what we do everyday. Specifically, it means a few things: community-generated ideas via the SXSW PanelPicker®, non-profit-focused programming sessions, the Dewey Winburne Community Service Awards, and the SXSW Community Fund Grants.
Community means we need you to make SXSW Interactive the best it can be. See below for more about our commitment to a diverse community.
The SXSW Community Fund
In 2012, SXSW established the SXSW Community Fund through Communities Foundation of Texas which now funds the the SXSW Community Fund Grants. The SXSW Community Fund also supports several local and national organizations and awards grants to the winners of the Dewey Winburne Community Service Awards and the Grulke Prize each March in Austin, Texas.
A Diverse Community is a Strong Community
The most interesting sessions are the ones where there are many different perspectives. When choosing speakers keep in mind these basic diversity principles.
Gender – If more than three or more speakers are proposed, please ensure gender diversity. In other words, a panel of three or four speakers cannot be comprised of a single gender.
Location – Lots of amazingly talented professionals call New York, Texas and California home. But, there are scores of very qualified digital creatives in the US and around the world. Their voices also help contribute to the ongoing goal of diversity.
Opinion – If all the speakers on your panel proposal have the same opinion on the give topic, then the resulting conversation will likely be uninteresting. Whatever topic you are addressing, you are encouraged to include at least one person whose opinion differs sharply from yours.
Variety – The session selection process is very competitive so having a variety of new and interesting speakers is essential to having an effective presentation.
Ethnicity – Different ethnic backgrounds and different cultures take a different approach to different topics. And, different is usually a good thing.
The G-L-O-V-E principles are integral to decision-making in the PanelPicker and are visibly reflected during the March event where diversity is abundant.
To be clear, our commitment to diversity is a commitment to a smarter community – different kinds of people bring different ways of thinking to the table. Hearing these different ways of thinking help make everyone smarter.