SXSW 2017 Interactive Festival Overview

From March 10 to March 16, the South By Southwest Interactive Festival will bring innovators, speakers and educators from across the world to Austin. Before and after kicking off with Festival Opening Party on Friday, the conference will provide a platform for individuals to connect with one another and share ideas on a wide range of topics.

SXSW Interactive closing party. Photo by Aaron Rogosin. Courtesy of

SXSW Interactive closing party. Photo by Aaron Rogosin. Courtesy of

Story by Zoya Zia

This year, SXSW has dozens of tracks that provide structure over the course of the week. Among other fields, these tracks include health, government, social impact and the tech industry. Festival attendees have the opportunity to hear diverse perspectives while navigating through a busy schedule.

The Interactive Festival features several keynote speakers who hail from different backgrounds but share a common interest in promoting dialogue.

On Mar. 10 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., climber and visual storyteller Cory Richards will give a keynote address in the journalism track. Richards has reached the summit of Mt. Everest and approached the peaks of the Himalayas. He captured these moments with a camera and is regarded as one of the world’s top adventure photographers.

From mountains to molecules, the festival’s next interactive keynote will take place from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on March 11. Dr. Jennifer Doudna is a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. She co-invented a new process for gene editing and stands out as a leader in the field of health.

Another interactive keynote will be held on March 13 at the same time as the previous keynotes. Adam Grant, professor at the Wharton School and New York Times writer, specializes in workplace relations. He is recognized as an influential management thinker whose insight will help shape a framework that the audience can apply to their own lives.

Although keynotes are a key component of the festival, attendees and their experiences will interact in other ways.

Meet Ups and Workshops allow attendees to participate in networking and skills-building seminars. Mentor Sessions meet this same goal on a smaller scale; individuals can have one-on-one interaction with professionals. However, these sessions require advance sign-up.

Events including Book Readings and Featured Speakers bring in more big names. Some of the featured speakers this year include Olympic Athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad, Mayor of Austin Steve Adler and White House Correspondent Abby Phillip.

The Interactive Festival also recognizes innovators in a number of awards ceremonies. In particular, the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards is an anticipated event that showcases the trailblazers of the digital industry. The Finalist Showcase will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 11 while the awards ceremony starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Mar. 14.

As individuals travel from near and far to attend the festival, they will begin to engage in interesting discussions. It is clear already that SXSW has a lot to offer this year.