SXSW Interactive Tracks

Session Audience. Photo by Mars Varela

Like the SXSW Community, SXSW Programming Is Very Diverse

SXSW Interactive Festival programming covers a wide span of topics and ideas. Our daytime programming varies not only by track, but by format as well. To help you find what most interests you within our festival, we’ve created this nifty breakdown by Interactive session tracks, session formats followed by a breakdown of our Convergence tracks – which are session topics that overlap between our core industries of Music, Film & Interactive. Learn more about Convergence tracks and badge access.

Session Tracks

Art, Science and Inspiration
Encompassing everything from the common elements of art and design like photography, painting, writing, and sculpture, as well as broadly-researched scientific topics like space exploration, bio-mechanics, neurology, and physics. Also, add some of the more esoteric topics like pervasive computing, spirituality, time travel, zero point theory, aliens, and multiple dimensions, with a healthy mix of the re-building/re-creating/re-mixing world of the hacker-maker.

Branding and Marketing
Here speakers explore the constantly evolving world and work of agencies and their clients. From native advertising to brand storytelling to predictive analytics there is something for everyone. Led by some of the most respected voices in the industry, they will explore why now is such a complex, evolving and exciting time to work in these fields.

Content and Distribution
Information and how it gets to us is vital. Sessions in this track explore the current and future impact of technology on news, journalism and analysis is dispersed; whether it’s streaming and online content, attribution or storytelling – it informs and engages us on multiple levels.

Design and Development
The Design and Development track represents the traditional heart of the Interactive event. By representing the art of design and the process of development in every aspect, the track provides insight and inspiration into topics including: Interaction Design, Open Source, Front and Backend Development, User Experience, Web and Mobile Design, Hardware and Software.

Government and Policy
Discusses individuals privacy and security in terms of surveillance, encryption tools, tracking, big data, monitoring and also touches on policy and civic engagement: elections, government and technology, local, city and national government.

Health & MedTech
Focuses on all things relating to the well-being through the self and technology. Subjects covered includes technological advances in medicine, online health services and best practicies on both individual and industry level, self-care, self-hacking, wearable devices for healthier living and how big data can improve overall health, habits and solutions.

Intelligent Future
This track embodies the realm of future possibilities where intelligence is embedded in every aspect of life with the goal for technology to empower and enable new possibilities like smart transportation and cites, augmented reality and intelligent devices.

Startup Village®
Startup Village brings together startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and innovative tastemakers with the SXSW Interactive Festival. Within Startup Village, you will find topics ranging from B2B, B2C, Bootstrapping, Business Strategy, Future of Money, Startups and anything in-between. It is also the home of SXSW Accelerator®, a two-day pitch competition that culminates at the end of day two with the Accelerator Awards Ceremony.

Work and Career
Whether you work as team or prefer freelance and contract work, these sessions will cover everything from career development, work-life balance, co-working and alternative spaces, the future of work and everything in-between.

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Session Formats

These hour-long, internally curated Keynote presentations showcase the trends and ideas that we believe to be the most important or significant within the new media industries. The Interactive Festival hosts one Keynote per day of programming.

Featured Speakers
Featured Speakers are a series of hour-long presentations that see some of the most recognizable and well respected thought leaders take the stage. These sessions are held in our largest programming rooms and span across all of our themes.

Solo, Dual and Panel Presentations
The vast majority of our Solo, Dual and Panel programming is sourced through the PanelPicker®. Panels typically feature one moderator and up to three additional industry experts who represent different perspectives and opinions. Solo and Dual presentations offer less diversity of opinion but more in-depth analysis. Each of these formats are one hour in length.

Our in-depth, instructional Workshop program offers advanced level technical information that revolves around a particular topic or skill. Workshops enable SXSW registrants to gain more expertise in their particular area of interest and vary from two-and-a-half, four or eight hours total time, dependent on the topic at hand. Advance sign up is required.

Meet Ups
Meet Ups provide an environment for SXSW registrants to meet and network with other creative industry professionals who share similar career paths, passions and social interests. Meet Ups are curated around a wide variety of topics, and all are 60 minutes in duration.

Mentor Sessions
Mentor Sessions aim to pair relatively newcomers in the field of technology with an experienced new media professional for seven minutes of intense, one-on-one career coaching. Our mentors range in areas of expertise and make themselves available for an hour's time. Advance sign up required.

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Convergence Session Tracks

SXSW Comedy
SXSW Comedy showcases the best in up and coming and big name stand-up talent. The program also features a host of popular sessions centered around TV and Film.

Continuing Legal Education has been an important part of SXSW for many years. Members of the legal profession have priority access to these sessions and gain CLE credit for attendance.

Future of Entertainment
The Future of Entertainment track looks at the changing landscape of entertainment, focusing on areas like TV and episodic content, boundary-pushing digital storytelling, the cord cutting and OTT revolution and the business behind it all.

SXSW Gaming is positioned at the nexus of the converging Music, Film and Interactive festivals that are found exclusively at SXSW. With the SXSW Gaming Awards, daytime sessions, a free-and-open-to-the-public Gaming Expo, rocking parties and exceptional demos, no event bridges the gap between industry insiders and the general public quite like SXSW Gaming.

This track, newly added to Convergence, brings together the food community's most inspired speakers, chefs, filmmakers and enthusiasts to connect and explore ways in which technology can be leveraged to transform the food industry. The topics covered include but are not limited to, foodtech, food scarcity solutions, agtech, food communities, future of the grocery store, food funding, QSR innovations and more.

A big picture look at how we can impact community on a global level through charity, activism, green tech, non-profits; and the importance of diversity and emerging markets like LGBT in tech, Latinos in tech, Asians in tech and non-traditional hubs.

Championing a broader perspective on the world of sports unique to SXSW, SXsports explores cultural impact and the human experience, tackles the future of sport in all its forms, and embraces technology and innovation.

SXstyle explores the complex ties between fashion, art, culture and technology.

VR/AR Track
These technologies are finding new ways to enhance our ability to perceive the world around us, and in many instances they are redefining how we experience the world.

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If you have ideas, suggestions or questions about SXSW daytime programming, then please feel free to email

2015 SouthBites Session at the Driskill. Photo by Mars Varela