The desire and motivation to do good has a snowball effect, and when one person speaks up, it has the power to permeate society. The SXSW Social Impact Track highlights activists, storytellers, entertainers, nonprofits, foundations and social enterprises creating impact and contributing to a better world. This March at SXSW, the Social Impact Track will address topics ranging from tangible ways media influencers can advocate for change to the development of civil rights for cyborgs.
During the Social Impact Track hear from activists such as Manal al-Sharif and learn how anyone can create change and generate social impact. In 2011, as part of the Women2Drive campaign, Al-Sharif daringly filmed herself driving in Saudi Arabia and posted the video to YouTube. SXSW Programmer Tammy Lynn noted, “Although Al-Sharif didn’t actually break any law, she and her fellow agitators successfully broke the taboo and demanded an end to the ban. This September, Saudi Arabia announced that they plan to lift the ban on women drivers, effective June 2018. See Al-Sharif speak, along with other remarkable women in the Social Impact session, Everyday Ways to Fight Oppression.”
Dive deeper into the Social Impact Track from March 10-14 during SXSW Convergence programming. SXSW Convergence programming features a range of topics that straddle the cultural and technological intersection at the heart of SXSW with primary access granted to all SXSW Badges.
Social Impact Session Highlights
Everyday Ways to Fight Oppression
Speakers: Manal Al-Sharif, Thor Halvorssen (Human Rights Foundation), Leyla Hussein (Dahlia Project), and Maria Toorpakai Wazir (Maria Toorpakai Foundation)
Repressive regimes use many tools to keep power, and now people everywhere are fighting back with ordinary actions. Hear how a computer scientist in Saudi Arabia challenged the government by driving a car; how a psychotherapist in the UK used creativity to combat violence against women; and how a girl in Pakistan defied the Taliban by playing squash. During this panel, moderated by the Human Rights Foundation, these women will show how anybody can make an impact and bring about social change.
Tiny Canvases: Identity and Protest through Nail Art
Speakers: Meghann Rosales (Nails Y’all)
Meghann Rosales is a nail artist and owner of Nails Y’all in Austin, TX. With a background in cartooning, she specializes in hand-painted miniature portraits of people and pets. She draws heavily on politics, feminist iconography, pop culture, and art for design inspiration. Her nails have appeared in The Atlantic, Whole Foods, and The Rachel Maddow Show.
Meghann was raised in Houston and moved to central Texas in 2001. Prior to opening her business in 2011, she earned a Master’s degree in education from Fordham University in New York City, where she taught high school history and admired her students’ amazing manicures.
There Is No Other Hand: Inclusive Design & Kids
Speakers: Jordan Reeves (Born Just Right), and Jen Lee Reeves (Born Just Right)
A blast of glitter from a kid-invented, 3D-printed unicorn horn shaped prosthetic arm is helping change how we think about disability and inclusive design. 11-year-old Jordan Reeves and her mom, Jen Lee Reeves, share how Jordan’s opportunity to enhance her limb difference with a creative design has pushed the tween forward as a spokesperson to help reshape how we think about disability and inclusive design. The two will share the path they are taking to change attitude and industry.
Cyborg Pride – An Introduction To Cyborg Identity
Speakers: Richard MacKinnon (BorgFest Human Augmentation Expo), and Kevin Welch (EFF-Austin, Digital Arts Coalition)
Come and celebrate Cyborg Pride with Borgfest and EFF-Austin! Borgfest director Rich MacKinnon and EFF-Austin president Kevin Welch will talk about their collaboration to create the world’s first Cyborg Pride parade to raise visibility for this emerging population of humans and to increase awareness of the civil rights issues that surround being a cyborg. With Cyborg Pride, they hope to give cyborgs, cyborgs-in-waiting, and their allies a place to celebrate cyborg identity.
Crossover Track Recommendations
Explore topics outside of your focus area and learn from SXSW sessions across all 24 Tracks of Conference programming. These recommended sessions are outside of the Food Track but will interest any SXSW attendee.
What About Us: Ableism and Disability in the Media – Kristen Parisi (Writer) Track: News & Journalism
Purchase your SXSW Badge and reserve your hotel today to experience these sessions along with 10 days of screenings, showcases, exhibitions, networking, and more this March 9-18 in Austin, TX. Take the Tracks Quiz to discover which badge will suit your needs.
Teaser Photo by Jon Currie