South by Southwest (SXSW) Sydney™ Launches First Look at Inaugural 2023 Event


Today, futurist conference and festival, South by Southwest (SXSW)Sydney™ launches the first look at its inaugural 2023 event, unveiling its inner-Sydney precinct location, event formats and announcing the first badges on sale at Early Bird pricing. Additionally, the event reveals the Conference program’s first Keynote Speaker – American futurist, author and CEO/Founder of Future Today Institute, Amy Webb, alongside its first line-ups of Featured Speakers and music acts.

Sydney, famous for its sparkling harbour and golden beaches, will be the first city outside of Austin, Texas to gather the world’s most inspired thinkers, creators and innovators in the southern hemisphere. The harbour city’s tech and culture scene will converge to host this future-focused event that will see the Asia-Pacific’s pre-eminent creative industries come together across content pillars of Tech and Innovation, Gaming, Music, Screen and Culture within a full week program running from Sunday, October 15 to Sunday, October 22, 2023

To access what SXSW Sydney has to offer, you need a badge. Platinum and Industry badges are now available at Early Bird prices HERE.

Event Precinct
Supported by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, SXSWSydney will encompass a walkable footprint within the Sydney CBD and surrounding neighbourhoods. True to the spirit of discovery at the core of SXSW®, areas such as Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo, Chippendale and more will transform into a vibrant, interconnected hub of event formats including festivals, performances, premieres, exhibitions, meet-ups, speakers, pitches and networking opportunities, with ideas and surprises to uncover on every street corner.

Event Formats
A core part of the event is the SXSW Sydney Conference, taking place in multiple venues including ICC Sydney, UTS,The Powerhouse Museum and more, featuring more than 400 keynotes, presentations, panels, workshops and mentor sessions with inspiring thinkers and leaders. The SXSW Sydney Technology & Innovation Exhibitions will showcase innovative and emerging tech and entertainment companies from across the Asia-Pacific region, while the Startup Village serves as a seminal spot for meet-ups, presentations and workspace areas with showcases from the brightest up-and-coming businesses across all industries and sectors.

As announced earlier in 2023, the SXSW Sydney 2023 Music Festival will take over multiple live music venues in central Sydney, where official showcasing artists will perform in front of industry reps, media and thousands of fans and fellow musicians from across the globe. Musicians can now apply HERE to participate. Expanding well beyond a traditional film festival, the SXSW Sydney Screen Festival will offer a future-focused program of film, episodic content, digital, XR and social content premieres, showcasing screen-culture’s diversity in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. From red carpet premieres to immersive screen experiences, Q&As and panel discussions with creators, expect industry and public access to world-leading screen ideas and perspectives. Applications are open now to filmmakers and screen creatives HERE

Newly announced, the SXSW Sydney Gaming Festival will celebrate the future of the industry and embrace the power and potential of games. Over 100 local and international independent games will be playable across Showcase venues and the myriad other festival venues in the SXSW Sydney precinct. Demonstrations, product launches, hands-on play, stage sessions, performances, screenings, unique exhibitions and social events are waiting to be discovered, as the festival provides an opportunity for gaming industry professionals and audiences to connect, collaborate, exhibit and build relationships with each other in an unmissable, incomparable setting.

Geoff Jones, Chair, SXSW Sydney says: “SXSW Sydney will be a complete game-changer for Sydney and the Asia Pacific. Locally, it will increase visitation and bolster the creative economy. Within APAC, it will facilitate a special connection between creative industries and businesses in the region – the kind that can lead to collaboration and innovation on a global scale. I can’t wait to see the opportunities flow on from October this year.” 

Ben Franklin, NSW Minister for Tourism and the Arts says on the significant benefits to Sydney’s visitor economy and creative industries: “Sydney is the economic and leisure gateway to Australia with a global reputation for hosting major international events that capture the world’s attention. One of Sydney’s greatest assets is its numerous world-class event facilities, located within close proximity to the CBD. An event of this scale will activate a large number of venues throughout the city, supporting the entire ecosystem of Sydney’s visitor and night-time economy. South By Southwest Sydney will put a spotlight on the Harbour City as the major events and creative industries capital of the Asia Pacific.”

Colin DanielsManaging Director, SXSW Sydney adds: “Today’s announcement is simply the first port in a voyage of discovery. Over the next eight months we will reveal more speakers, more music, more screen and more gaming content from Australia, the Asia Pacific and from around the world. I’m excited to partner with some of the leading innovators in the creative, business and technology communities to enable people to see their world, their work and their ingenuity from a series of new and inspiring angles.”

Jann Baskett, Co-President and Chief Brand Officer of SXSW says: “We’re excited to see SXSW Sydney come to life with its first programming announcement. From Austin alumni including Amy Webb, Guy Kawasaki and Yiying Lu to innovative speakers from the Asia Pacific region, this lineup serves as a testament to SXSW Sydney’s commitment to providing a platform for creative thinkers across the many industries the event will highlight.”

First Keynote Speaker
Today, SXSW Sydney unveils its first ever Keynote Speaker appearing at the 2023 inaugural event.

Amy Webb is an American futurist, author and CEO/Founder of the leading foresight and future strategy firm, Future Today Institute. Named ‘one of the five women changing the world’ according to Forbes in 2022, one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2020, and ranked on the Thinkers50 list of the 50 most influential management thinkers globally, Amy has been celebrated for her pioneering data-driven, technology-led foresight methodology which advises hundreds of leaders and organisations on how to prepare for complex futures. Amy also collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on film, TV programs and commercials about science, technology and the future, while her most recent book The Genesis Machine also expands to the field synthetic biology – which combines biology with artificial intelligence. An unmissable keynote to catch at SXSW Sydney.

First Featured Speakers
This is accompanied by the first unveiling of SXSW Sydney Featured Speakers, who will be a part of 600 speakers across the Conference programming.

Appearing together on the Conference line-up will be serial entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Colossal, Ben Lamm,and expert in the exploration of mammalian evolution, development and reproductive technologies, Andrew Pask of the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. In tandem with Colossal’s pursuit of the de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth, the revolutionary genetic sciences company has now partnered with Pask’s lab to further his work on the de-extinction of the Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). Their passionate and disruptive work promises another can’t-miss item on the SXSW Sydney agenda.

Ben Lamm says; “One thing I remain hyper-focused on as a leader is bringing the best and brightest together across industries in order to celebrate technological innovation, art exploration and cultural experiences. SXSW has established the world’s zeitgeist of disruption across these verticals, and I’m honoured to continue to be connected to its global stage.”

Chief Evangelist of Canva and former Apple Chief Evangelist, Guy Kawasaki brings unrivalled experience in evolving technology to SXSW Sydney. Author of The Remarkable Mindset, Wise Guy, The Art of the Start 2.0 and thirteen other books, plus host of his Remarkable People podcast, Kawasaki is not to be missed.

Also speaking this October is Jack Reis, co-founder of Baidam Solutions, a cyber security business based in Brisbane that meets a critical gap in the First Nations business sector.

Jack Reis also contributes; “SXSW is truly a movement bringing together many cultures. My heritage is First Nations Australian, I am Badulaig (Badu man), from Zenadth Kes (the Torres Strait). When you embrace many cultures and industries you invariably introduce diversity. Bringing together and showcasing the tech, gaming and the creative industries of music and screenplay allows for more ideas, more talent, more skills, and a diversity of perspectives which increases the potential for your desired accomplishments. I’m looking forward to experiencing this firsthand at SXSW Sydney 2023.”

Head of Screen NSW, Kyas Hepworth is a Bundjalung woman who has dedicated her career to bringing unique and authentic stories to the screen, now leading the state’s film and production strategy while also advancing NSW’s position in Digital games. Currently on the Board of AusFilm, and previously NITV’s Head of Commissioning and Programming and a Board Member of the Australian International Documentary Conference, Kyas’ work has crossed documentaries, feature films, TV series, web series and more – an exceptional leading figure from the local Screen industry. 

Lawyer, writer, filmmaker and Distinguished Professor and Laureate Fellow at Jumbunna Research, University of Technology Sydney, Larissa Behrendt AO appears – also known as the host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio.

Saudi women’s rights activist, author, podcast host, cyber security specialist and founder of the Ethical Technologists Society, Manal al-Sharif will appear at SXSW Sydney. A pioneer of a right-to-drive campaign in her home country, al-Sharif’s perspective on the intersection between human rights and technology is invaluable.

CEO and Founder of quantum technology company Q-CTRLMichael J. Biercuk is a SXSW and TEDx speaking alumnus, plus a multi-time Australian Museum Eureka Prize nominee and winner. Biercuk holds a PhD from Harvard University, and has been a Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology at the University of Sydney. Previously, he worked at DARPA in the US Department of Defense, the most successful research funding agency in the world responsible for bringing you the internet, stealth technology, mobile phones and night vision. He’s an avid collector of mechanical watches and a member of the GPHG Academy, bringing together the worlds of quantum tech and watches.

Swedish CEO of Pophouse Entertainment, Per Sundin has worked with some of the greatest-selling Nordic artists, including Avicii, ABBA, Tove Lo, Swedish House Mafia, alongside playing a pivotal role in the rise of Spotify.

As Director of Content at NetflixQue Minh Luu is responsible for bringing shows like Heartbreak HighIrreverent and Boy Swallows Universe to life. Luu brings previous experience as an executive producer at the ABC, having also worked in scripted drama, comedy and digital content alongside time spent as a film editor.

Australian business executive Robyn Denholm is the Chair of Tesla and Operating Partner of venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures. A passionate advocate for innovation, Denholm brings illustrious life and leadership experience from the tech industry.

Denholm says:We believe Australia is on the cusp of a once in a generation opportunity to become a global technology powerhouse and SXSW Sydney brings the incredible opportunity to showcase our Australian technology story to the world.

Rohit Bhargava is an entrepreneur, bestselling author and founder of The Non-Obvious Company, dedicated to helping leaders, organisations and curators see what others might miss, and become more creative and innovative in preparing for the future in their industries. 

Sam Barlow is a BAFTA Games Award-winning game designer, and founder of Half Mermaid Productions. Sam is best known for his work as a writer and director of video games that push the boundaries of interactive narrative, such as Her StorySilent Hill: Shattered MemoriesTelling Lies, his most ambitious recent project, IMMORTALITY – a horror story about 20th Century filmmaking, art and death.

Sean Miyashiro is the founder and CEO of internationally-renowned, multi-disciplinary media company, 88rising (home to Joji, NIKI, Rich Brian and more), whose mission is to amplify Asian and Asian-American talent and youth culture across the globe. Since founding 88rising in 2015 Miyashiro has transformed the music world, redefining what a record label can be while cultivating a diverse roster of Asian talent. The collective have also curated a myriad of internationally successful endeavours – including Head In The Clouds Festival, being first and only record label to have a main stage slot at Coachella 2022, and also making their mark in the film world, with Miyashiro executive producing the soundtrack to one of the biggest movies of the year: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Sheila Nguyen is a leading regenerative built environment design professional, who has become a leading figure in addressing strategic and operational environmental sustainability issues within sport. Sheila was given the Honorary Lifetime Member award from the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS) and recognised as an Australian Financial Review Top 100 Women of Influence (2019) for her leadership in galvanising the sport industry to protect and respect the natural environment. Now as Head of Sustainability for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Dr. Nguyen’s work at the cross section of climate action, sustainable development and sport continues.

Sung-Eun YOUN is one of Korea’s most important film critics, an author, a member of the executive committee of the Korean Association of Film Critics, and a respected university lecturer with a PhD in film studies. Having recently established her own entertainment company focused on finding engaging stories, Sung-Eun is widely recognised for her work in putting Korean film on the map.

Tom Verrilli is the Chief Product Officer at Twitch, where the Australian is responsible for the Product, Engineering and Applied Science teams who are behind streamer tools, content discovery, community engagement and safety. Previously Twitch’s VP of Viewer Experience, Verrilli’s impressive career path has also included bringing NFL games to Twitter.

Award-winning artist and entrepreneur, Yiying Lu appears at SXSW Sydney as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and Microsoft’s Top 10 Emerging Leaders in Innovation. Yiying’s iconic design creations including the Twitter Fail Whale and Chinese paper-cut Style Mickey Mouse for the Disney Shanghai opening have appeared in The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and BBC

Yoomin YANG is a co-founder, CEO and executive producer at Korean production company, WOW POINT, where she oversees their extensive TV and film development and production slate including recently announced Netflix Series, Parasyte: The Grey. Yoomin’s other recent achievements include producing a Korean adaptation of Netflix’s Money Heist, among other projects. 

First Music Artists
SXSW Sydney is also excited to reveal the first international music acts on its festival program, with many more to be announced across the year. Hailing from four countries and spanning genres from hip-hop and indie-rock to pop and punk, these rapidly-rising acts represent the first glimpse into a future-star studded music program, to be announced across the year.

Making their debut Australian appearances at SXSW Sydney are Nigerian-British indie-pop songwriter CONNIE CONSTANCE (touted by BBC Radio 1, NME and The Guardian for her tracks infused with punk and soul); Canadian new-wave breakthrough solo artist EKKSTACY (appearances at Pitchfork Festival London, supported HEALTH and Purity Ring, 6 million monthly Spotify listeners); London-based quartet LOS BITCHOS (endorsed by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and The Guardian, making Coachella debut this April); ferocious Japanese punk four-piece OTOBOKE BEAVER (global sell-out shows and rave reviewed from Pitchfork, NPR, i-D and The Fader) and American rapper-producer teenager redveil (toured with Denzel Curry and Freddie Gibbs, scored a 8.0 Pitchfork review for his debut LP learn to swim, 3.6 million monthly Spotify listeners and counting).

How to attend and participate in SXSW Sydney
A major contribution to SXSW Sydney’s conference panel programming comes via Session Select, which enables individuals and groups to submit proposals for solo presentations, panels or workshops. Almost 1,000 creatives have registered for Session Select so far. Ideas will be voted on by the broader SXSW Sydney community and reviewed for final selection by SXSW Sydney committees and programming teams. Submit your proposal HERE, before applications close on the extended date of February 28, 2023 at 11:59pm AEDT.

A SXSW Sydney badge provides access to the week-long conference, expo, festivals and networking sessions, with each badge type granting varying levels of access. Platinum and Industry badges provide core access to more than 1,000 ground-breaking events and networking sessions with some of the world’s leading thinkers, performers and industry professionals, and are available for Early Bird purchase now. Platinum badges secure the holder primary access to all programming, while Industry badges secure priority access to all conference events and industry-specific festivals, talks, workshops and parties. Learn more and buy your badge today at

Sydney is the leading connector to innovation and creativity in the Asia-Pacific; the events and theatre capital of the region, and ranks second in Asia for fin-tech development and sixth globally*. Further SXSW Sydney conference, festival, exhibition and event line-ups will be revealed across 2023, with opportunities to attend over 1000 sessions, screenings and performances, immersive activations, unforgettable parties and dynamic networking events across the city. This October, discover the unexpected ideas and diverse discussions SXSW Sydney makes possible when creative people come together.




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