2021 PanelPicker Sessions

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.

"Female Leaders in Television" Panel – SXSW 2019. Photo by Mike Jordan/Getty Images for SXSW


All ideas received during the PanelPicker® entry period were posted online for community voting from November 10-20, 2020. The SXSW community was able to review, comment, and vote to help shape SXSW programming for 2021 SXSW Online, a digital event experience from March 16-20, 2021.

Community votes comprise 30% of the final decision plus input of the SXSW Staff (30%) and Advisory Board (40%). Together these percentages helped to determine the final content lineup for the 2021 SXSW Online slate of PanelPicker-curated sessions for the Conference.

For the 2021, seven Conference themes will underscore the event – A New Urgency; Challenging Tech’s Path Forward; Cultural Resilience in the Arts; The Rebirth of Business; Transforming the Entertainment Landscape; Connection in Disconnection; and An Uncharted Future.

Browse over 230 conference sessions for SXSW Online below divided by Conference Theme. Stay tuned for more announcements throughout the season including the launch of the online Schedule in February.


A New Urgency - 2021 SXSW Online - Conference Theme

  • 2020: A Pivotal Moment for Women in the Workplace

  • 2021 CX Report: Safety Eats the World

  • The 11%: Piloting Gender Inclusivity in Music

  • Adaptable Cities: Tech & the Urban Evolution

  • Adapting to Realities: Securing Our Future Now

  • Addressing the Statue: Museums, Monuments, & Race

  • Anthropology as a Crucial Frame for Change

  • The Best Practices of the Worst People

  • Beyond Bias, Moving the Industry into Action

  • Beyond the Black Square: Brands’ Racial Reckoning

  • Beyond the Burden: Disparities in End of Life Care

  • Black Women in Nonprofits: By Us, for You

  • Bridging Cultures through Narratives

  • Can COVID Data Help Us Achieve Health Equity?

  • The Case for Creating a Better Industry

  • Changing the Narrative Around Racial Injustice

  • Chasing Equity: Quantifying An Inclusive Future

  • The Creator at the Center

  • Data-Led Governance: How Communities Inform Cities

  • Decriminalize Drugs to Save Lives & Build Justice

  • Documenting the Black Lives Matter Protests

  • Future Visions: Stand Still, Move Forward

  • Gastrodiplomacy in Times of Crisis

  • Healthcare Amid COVID: Virtual Support & Advocacy

  • How to Build Belonging in the Workplace

  • The “I” in “Team”: Sport in a Changing Society

  • Impact of Race and Gender on Global Healthcare

  • Independent, Resourceful & Aware

  • Inspiring Faith to Climate Action

  • Into Dust: Securing Water for Us & Our Planet

  • Measure Twice, Cut Once: China-US Tech Connections

  • Midnight Sun: Energy Storage Trends & Challenges

  • Music-Powered Community Sustainability Activism

  • Perspectives on Clinical Trial Diversity

  • Plastic is not the Problem

  • Postpartum Probability: Maternal Health Justice

  • Purpose-washing: Taking True Action

  • Raising Good Gamers

  • Re: Stock – Increasing Diversity in Stock Media

  • Rise Up: Black Women & Girls Reaching for the Stars

  • Rising Coastlines, Surging Threats

  • Samsø: A Pioneer Island Pointing to the Future

  • Scoring Big: Sports, Entrepreneurism, & Equality

  • Silicon Valley is a State of Mind

  • Social Justice in a New Era

  • Tech & Prison Comms: The Impact on Recidivism

  • To a Century and Beyond!

  • Truth to Power: Restorative Justice In Cannabis

  • Understanding the Motivation Behind Extremism

  • Unexpected Technology Advances Pushed by Pandemic

  • The WNBA Playbook For How To Lead a Movement

  • Women: Bearing the Impact of COVID-19 Globally


  • “Alexa, Set Reminder to Design Good AI for Kids”

  • Approaching a New Decade w/Resonance & Resilience

  • Avatars for Virtual Reality

  • Behind China’s Great Firewall: Tech, Culture, & UX

  • Beyond Binary: Adding Nuance to Take-Down/Leave-Up

  • Building a Future Mobility Region

  • The Business Case for No-Code

  • Can Decentralized Organizations Exist?

  • Debunking Cloud for a Better Tomorrow

  • Did Tech Save the Events Industry?

  • Diversifying Tech

  • Diversity & Inclusion: Buzz Word, Movement, or BS?

  • Envision A World of Design Without White Supremacy

  • Every Company Needs to Become a Software Company

  • Forging a New Social Contract for Big Tech

  • Future Hybrid: How Virtuality Changes Live Music

  • The Future of Climate Innovation

  • How to Create a Content Moderation Court

  • Immersive Retail: Connected Shopping in a New Era

  • Interactive Media: Addressing Civil Rights & Race

  • Intersectionality and Design for Responsible AI

  • More Human Ambiance in Ambient Computing

  • Questioning Personalization is Good For Engagement

  • Quick Pivot in Cannabis Reimagines Retail for All

  • Reimaging Care: The Intersection of Tech & Touch

  • Relational Design

  • Responsible Innovation: Move Fast and Fix Things

  • Saving Society from Deepfakes: A Practical Policy Agenda for Today

  • The Soldier and Mixed Reality (XR): Human Focused

  • The Surveillance Economy & the Future of Privacy

  • Taking Sustainable Investing Mainstream

  • Taking the Bias Out of VC Investing

  • To Build World Class Startup Ecosystems in Japan

  • The What, Why & How of Responsible AI

  • Wildlife Rangers Armed with AI


  • A New Theatrical World: Virtual Cinema

  • A UK Creative Industries Showcase

  • Are You Ready for Some Streaming?

  • Art, Entertainment and Social Justice Awareness

  • Audience of the Future Live

  • Audio: The Killer Platform Nobody is Talking About

  • Behind the Lens with Rising Cinematographers

  • Beyond the Binge: Developing Original Content ’21

  • Changing Of the Guard In Sports Media

  • Clarice: A Hero for a New Generation

  • Creating Touchstones in Emergent Narratives

  • Cultural Appropriation: A Fixable Cultural Crime

  • Driving Innovation Through Emerging Tech with HBO

  • Explaining The Impact of Esports On Entertainment

  • Eyes Off The Road! Universal’s Drive For In-car VR

  • Film Distribution in an Increasingly Digital Age

  • For Artists and Fans: Virtual is the New Normal

  • From Screen-to-Screen: Adapting Games to Film/TV

  • Gamer Therapy

  • The History and Future of Women in Music

  • Holograms Are Here: Transforming Music and Arts

  • How Film Commissions Shape Creative Industry Policy

  • How to Strike Gold with Your Brand Partnership

  • How “Sportswashing” is Changing the Game

  • The Interconnected Universes of Transmedia IP

  • Lady Sapiens: Breaking Paleolithic Stereotypes

  • Lessons from the Front Lines of Virtual Production

  • Navigating Accelerated Change in Music Industry

  • Post Pandemic Resurgence, XR in China & the US

  • Producing Unscripted Content in an Uncertain World

  • Reimagining Entertainment Through Mobile Gaming

  • Reimagining the Fan Experience Post-Pandemic

  • Responding to the Moment Through Arts + Activism

  • Rising from the ashes: indie film in a COVID world

  • Shondaland: Innovating Beyond TV

  • Soundtracks: Out of the Box

  • Streaming and Discovering Indie Music in 2021

  • Supercharging Live Stream Events for DJs

  • Taking Films From Seed to Screen: Vanishing Angle

  • Where Do We Go From Here?

  • Conference Sponsors

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