South By Southwest Opens PanelPicker Speaking Application Process

SXSW 2021 PanelPicker
SXSW 2021 PanelPicker

South By Southwest (SXSW), the annual film, interactive, music festivals, and conferences announced that the PanelPicker® online application will open on October 16.

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

During the application period, applicants need to create a new user account or login in. If you created a general SXSW account in 2013 or later you will be able to use the same login and password.

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Each individual account may enter only one proposal for the SXSW Conference. The organization’s staff encourages the community to upload proposals related to interactive, film, and music industries in a variety of session formats. These session formats include panels, solo presentations, and more.

After a PanelPicker application is submitted, the SXSW community is then able to browse proposals, leave comments, and vote to help shape the event.


A new urgency

The year 2020 has amplified issues that include racial injustice, poverty, nationalism, and the climate crisis during a global pandemic. The future depends on business, non-profit, government, science, and technology communities to all work together. What advancements are needed to create immediate and lasting progress?

Challenging tech’s path forward

If we are to achieve real change as a society, then the many ways in which the tech industry impacts our lives must be leveraged as a positive force. In order to build a better tomorrow, what lessons can an industry integral to our existence learn from its current failings?

Cultural resilience in the arts

Great art often thrives in times of turmoil and chaos. How will the eruption of creativity we are currently seeing across music, film, experiential, written, and visual arts impact our culture for the next decade and beyond?

The rebirths of business

From startups to small companies to major corporations, capitalism must be examined as we look to rebuild the global economy. A potential leveling of the playing field awaits if we seize this opportunity for more equitable systems across race, gender, and class.

Transforming the entertainment landscape

Conventional wisdom from entertainment industries has lost its shine in the face of evolving consumer habits, technological advancements, and an increased focus on social issues. These pressures are forcing a much-needed metamorphosis. What lessons can music, film, television, sports, and gaming learn to keep up with an ever-accelerating pace of change?

Connection in disconnection

We’re living lives we never could have imagined as we head into our own brave new world. The consequences of social isolation have been brewing for years. Now online platforms are some of the only outlets available to foster a sense of community. How do we return to a world where individual concerns give way to embracing the value of humanity?

An uncharted future

Bio-hacking, consumer space travel, quantum physics, radical life extension, and drone delivery concepts use to belong to science fiction but are now part of our future. What mind-blowing new ideas will inspire the next generation of innovators?

Tips for success

To help with the application process, please review the below tips for creating a proposal and visit SXSW News for more updates.

  • Make sure to follow the instructions and read the PanelPicker FAQ page.
  • Create a future-focused and original proposal that shows what you’re passionate about.
  • Use depth and specificity, in fact, the more specific a proposal is, the better. Make sure to drill down to what really matters.
  • Your title should reflect your description, for example, think simple, accurate, and succinct. Try to avoid all CAPS or all lowercase in your title.
  • Please note, diversity matters for all panels that include 3-4 person sessions. The proposal must include diversity in gender, race, location, and employment of speakers as well as diversity in thought and opinion.
  • When submitting, include a video with your proposal. Since speaking abilities matter, the SXSW would like to see them. By the way, there is no fancy production is required.
  • After creating your proposal, make sure to proofread.
  • You will not be able to make any edits once you have clicked “Enter My Proposal.” Before submitting your proposal, be sure you have reviewed it carefully.
  • Submit the proposal by the deadline of October 16, 2020.

The PanelPicker Voting Process

Once all ideas are received, the proposals will be posted online for community voting from November 10th through 20th, 2020. To help shape the SXSW programming, voting is as easy as “review, comment, and vote.”

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Nina Pena
Nina Pena is a technology, fashion and lifestyle writer based in Austin, Texas. Her technology knowledge stems from her experience working with Dell, Edelman and HP. Nina’s articles and product reviews cover the latest gadget, lifestyle and fashion trends for the last 15 years. As media, she has also covered SXSW and CES for over a decade in a row. Additionally, she has covered NYFW and Global Fashion Week events. A native Austin, Texan and former San Francisco resident, Nina brings a unique perspective to her coverage. She was a regular contributor for SF Examiner and until winter of 2017. In 2015 Nina founded and launched, a site that includes technology and fashion product reviews, coverage of industry events and press releases.