Keynotes

Keynote speakers embody the DIY spirit, ingenuity, and entrepreneurial drive that SXSW uniquely cultivates. These powerful presentations by diverse visionaries from the ever-evolving worlds of Interactive, Film, and Music are the center of the SXSW Conference.


Watch Keynote Videos


Keynotes

SXSW Keynote, Esther Perel – Photo by Amy E. Price/Getty Images

About Keynotes

 

At the crux of each day’s SXSW Conference programming, join us for hour-long Keynotes. These presentations by some of the creative and tech industries’ most inspired thinkers cover a wide range of compelling topics.

SXSW 2018 Keynotes will take place from Friday, March 9 – Saturday, March 17 and feature speakers from the Interactive, Film, Music, and Convergence Tracks. The SXSW Conference will include 13 total Keynote speakers announced throughout the season.

Explore 2018 Keynotes below and stay tuned to SXSW News for 2019 information coming in Summer 2018.

For more big-name speakers at SXSW, also browse the Featured Speakers page.

2018 Keynotes

 

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky – Brooklyn born and raised, Academy Award®-nominated director Darren Aronofsky is the founder of Protozoa Pictures. He is the writer and director of mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Last year, Aronofsky produced Jackie. He directed, co-wrote, and produced Noah (2014). Before that he directed the indie box office phenomenon, Black Swan (2010). It starred Natalie Portman who won an Academy Award® for her performance. Aronofsky directed and produced The Wrestler (2008). His earlier credits include directing and writing the acclaimed films: The Fountain (2006); Requiem for a Dream (2000); and Pi (1998).

Darren Aronofsky is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Film).

Watch Keynote Video


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. His book Between The World And Me won the National Book Award in 2015. He is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Coates’ forthcoming book, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy will be available on October 3.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Convergence).

Watch Keynote Video

Photo by Gabriella Demczuk


Lyor Cohen

Lyor Cohen is an American music industry executive, currently serving as Global Head of Music at YouTube and Google where he oversees domestic and international music partnerships as well as artist and label relations. He is also founder of 300, a music content company that leverages innovative tech to discover, cultivate and promote rising artists with a boutique focus. Prior to 300, Cohen was the Chairman and CEO of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group. Cohen was intimately involved in the careers of The Killers, fun., Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, The Black Keys, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and many more.

Lyor Cohen is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Music).

Watch Keynote Video

Photo by Noa Griffel


Nonny de la Peña

Nonny de la Peña is one of the most influential pioneers in virtual and augmented reality. She is founder and CEO of the award-winning Emblematic Group, renowned for using cutting-edge technologies to tell immersive stories that create intense, empathic engagement on the part of viewers. She was named one of CNET’s 20 Most Influential Latinos In Tech, Wired Magazine’s #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change and has been called the “Godmother of VR” by Forbes, Engadget, and The Guardian. Widely credited with inventing the field of immersive journalism by premiering the first-ever VR experience at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, Hunger In Los Angeles, she is now on the verge of announcing another breakthrough: Emblematic Group’s new REACH web platform, which allows anyone to tell their story in room-scale VR.

Nonny de la Peña is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Convergence).

Watch Keynote Video


Melinda Gates

Philanthropist Melinda Gates has dedicated her life to achieving transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities and societies. Core to her work is empowering women and girls to help them realize their full potential. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is guided by the belief that every life has equal value, Gates shapes and approves strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the world’s largest private foundation. Gates recently launched an executive office, Pivotal Ventures, which enables her to bring together the different strands of her advocacy and philanthropic work and create meaningful change.

Melinda Gates is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Interactive).

Watch Keynote Video

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Barry Jenkins

Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins feature film debut, Medicine for Melancholy (which had its world premiere at SXSW in 2008) was hailed as one of the best films of 2009 by The New York Times. Jenkins received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his second feature Moonlight, which won Best Picture at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes (Drama). His upcoming projects include adaptations of If Beale Street Could Talk and The Underground Railroad.

Barry Jenkins is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Film).

Watch Keynote Video


Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London, having been elected in May 2016 with the largest personal mandate in the history of British politics. Khan began his career practicing law with a focus on human rights, then served as a Member of Parliament representing a constituency in south London for ten years.

Sadiq Khan is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Convergence).

Watch Keynote Video


Esther Perel

Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED Talks have garnered nearly 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Perel is also an executive producer and host of the popular Audible original podcast Where Should We Begin?

Esther Perel is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Interactive).

Watch Keynote Video


Linda Perry & Kerry Brown

Linda Perry & Kerry Brown - Photo courtesy of the Speakers

Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Linda Perry is best known for her work as the lead singer and chief songwriter of 4 Non Blondes as well as her production and songwriting credits for artists such as Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and many more. Artist manager and multi-platinum producer Kerry Brown is known for his recording credits for The Smashing Pumpkins, Miley Cyrus, Ziggy Marley, and more, as well as his film and TV credits for Blow, P.S. I Love You, Scream, and more.

They co-founded We Are Hear as a combination record label, publishing house, and management company to provide the services of a major label while nurturing artistic freedom. Their Music Keynote Conversation will center around artist development and longevity – a topic more pressing than ever in the era of streaming.

Watch Keynote Video


whurley

whurley is founder and CEO of Strangeworks, a quantum computing startup based in Austin, Texas. He is the Chair of the Quantum Standards Working Group at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and blogs about quantum computing on superposition.com. His latest book Endless Impossibilities brings the realities of a quantum future into the present, helping readers understand and prepare for the coming age of quantum computing.

whurley is a 2018 SXSW Conference Keynote (Convergence).

Watch Keynote Video

Learn More

Explore SXSW Conference Tracks

The SXSW Conference provides an opportunity for global professionals at every level to participate, learn, and network. Each track allows attendees to explore what’s next in the worlds of entertainment, culture, and technology.

Explore Tracks

Watch SXSW 2018 Videos

Explore 2018 Keynotes, Featured Sessions, Red Carpets, Q&A’s, Showcases, and more on our YouTube Channel.

Watch Now

Explore the SXSW Conference

Super Sponsors

Capital One logo
Mercedes-Benz logo
Bud Light logo
Austin Chronicle logo

Stay Tuned

Sign up to receive the latest announcements, tips, networking invitations and more.