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
Strength of community also comes from diversity of thought, gender, geography, and background. We strive to achieve this goal community-centric goal by utilizing a V-O-W-E-L scale of basic diversity principles:
Variety – SXSW always aims to bring in new speakers with new ideas (as opposed to simply showcasing the same speakers who make the tech conference rounds).
Opinion – SXSW highlights a variety of opinions on tech-related matters, even if we sometimes don't agree with the given opinion.
Women – SXSW strongly believes in featuring the accomplishments of the many strong female voices in the tech industry.
Ethnicity – In addition to featuring more female speakers, SXSW also strongly believes in featuring speakers of various different ethnicities.
Location – SXSW is also committed to speakers and panels that raise awareness about tech innovation outside of the US.
These V-O-W-E-L 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.