PanelPicker® is the official SXSW user-generated session proposal platform. This easy, two-step online process allows the SXSW community to have a voice in what sessions are programmed at SXSW.

Stay tuned for 2021 SXSW PanelPicker dates.

2019 SXSW Session, An Indie Filmakers Guide to Directing Television - Photo by John Feinberg

2019 SXSW Session, An Indie Filmakers Guide to Directing Television - Photo by John Feinberg

About PanelPicker


SXSW values community input and involvement. The two-step online process PanelPicker® was developed to encourage the SXSW community to enter proposals and have a significant voice in Conference programming. The SXSW community is then able to browse proposals, leave comments, and vote to help shape the March event.

Hugh Forrest PanelPicker Quote

"PanelPicker connects us with the thousands of creative professionals, experts and decision-makers from the many disciplines in the global SXSW community. This interface helps us identify the most compelling new ideas within the many different industries we serve and, in so doing, keeps SXSW exciting, timely, and relevant."

Hugh Forrest
SXSW Chief Programming Officer

Application Process


Stay tuned for 2021 SXSW PanelPicker dates.

PanelPicker® is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in Conference programming for SXSW and SXSW EDU.

We encourage the community to upload proposals related to interactive, film and, music industries in variety of session formats including panels, solo presentations, workshops, podcasts, and more.

During the application period, create a new user account or login at If you created a general SXSW account in 2013 or later you will be able to use the same login and password for PanelPicker. Each individual account may enter only one (1) proposal for the SXSW Conference.

Tips for Success

Browse tips for creating a successful proposal below and stay tuned to SXSW News for more PanelPicker information and updates.

  • Follow the instructions and read the PanelPicker FAQ for important information about SXSW and valuable tips for creating a great proposal.
  • Create a future-focused, original proposal that shows what you’re passionate about.
  • Depth and specificity – the more specific a proposal is, the better. Drill down to what really matters.
  • Your title should reflect your description – think simple, accurate, and succinct. Tip: Avoid all CAPS or all lowercase in your title.
  • Diversity matters – all panels (3-4 person sessions) must include diversity in gender, race, location, and employment of speakers as well as diversity in thought and opinion.
  • Include a video with your proposal. Your speaking abilities matter and we’d like to see them. No fancy production required.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread.
  • You will NOT be able to make any edits once you have clicked “Enter My Proposal.” Be sure you have reviewed your proposal carefully.
  • Meet the deadline!

Community Voting


Stay tuned for 2021 SXSW PanelPicker dates.

All ideas received during the PanelPicker® entry period will be posted online for community voting. It’s as easy as “review, comment, and vote” to help shape SXSW programming.

PanelPicker Community Voting

Community votes comprise 30% of the final decision plus input of the SXSW Staff (30%) and Advisory Board (40%) helps ensure that less well-known voices have as much of a chance as being selected to speak at SXSW as individuals with large online followings. Together these percentages help determine the final content lineup.

Public Votes: 30%
Who knows what you want to see at SXSW better than you? Your input is very important in terms of shaping the look and feel of the March event.

SXSW Advisory Board: 40%
A group of 200+ industry experts from around the world, the SXSW Advisory Board provides significant feedback on all entries.

SXSW Staff: 30%
With years of experience programming this event, SXSW staffers work to fill any gaps in relevant subject matter, striking a balance between new and veteran speakers.

Hotel Information for Speakers


If you are selected as SXSW speaker, you have access to a limited number of rooms being protected for participants through SXSW Housing & Travel. Rooms are limited to one per registrant and will sell out fast so be sure to make your hotel reservation as soon as you are registered. Requests can be completed in your Shopping Cart or SXSW Social account. In the meantime, check out SXSW Housing & Travel for more information about our hotels, pricing, reservation policies, and travel information.

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