The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming SXSWedu, SXSW Interactive, SXSW Film, SXSW Music and SXSW Eco conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.)
STEP 1 encourages the community to enter proposals for daytime conference programming for all four SXSW events.
STEP 2 allows the community to browse all of these ideas, leave comments, and vote for what they think are the best fit for the March event.
The History—First Launched in 2007
Over the years, many of the most compelling presentations at SXSW have come directly from our community. This process was formalized in 2007 with the launch of the PanelPicker, an innovative online tool developed to enhance community participation in the SXSW Interactive Festival. This concept of community input and involvement has proved to be extremely popular, and in 2011 the PanelPicker was expanded to include SXSW Music and SXSW Film. SXSWedu and SXSW Eco joined also the PanelPicker process in 2012.
For the 2013 season, the SXSW PanelPicker was redesigned from the ground up to provide a new look, improved functionality and a smoother user experience.
"The PanelPicker interface is a natural extension of the creative intermingling that takes place during the festival itself. We are excited that we can provide a forum for new ideas to debut and flourish year-round."
– Roland Swenson, SXSW Managing Director
The Application Process
During the open application process, we encourage the anyone to upload proposals for solo presentations, panels, book readings, core conversations, and more. This application involves an easy-to-follow form that will walk you step by step through the entry process.
How Ideas are Selected: Voting + Staff + Advisory Board
While voting from the community is important, these totals are not the only factor in deciding SXSW programing. As illustrated by the graph below, the SXSW staff and Advisory Boards also inform a significant percentage in determining the content lineup.
The input of the SXSW staff and Advisory Boards helps ensure that less well-known voices have as much of a chance as being selected to speak at SXSW as individuals with large online followings.
Public Votes – 30%
Who knows what you want to see at SXSW better than you? Your input is very important in terms of shaping the look and feel of the 2016 event.
SXSW Advisory Board – 40%
A group of industry experts from around the world, the SXSW Advisory Board provides significant feedback on all submissions.
SXSW Staff – 30%
With years of experience programming this event, SXSW staff weighs in with feedback and work to fill any gaps in subject matter, strike a balance between new and veteran speakers.
"Our experience has proved that the PanelPicker interface is an invaluable way to connect with the thousands of professionals and informed consumers that make up the worldwide SXSW community. Not only does it help generate fresh ideas, it gives our participants an outlet to share with us what is most exciting, timely and relevant to them."
– Hugh Forrest, SXSW Interactive Festival director
The Competition — More than 3500 Entries Received For 2015
With so many high-quality entries, the selection process is extremely competitive. Fully-proofed, narrowly-focused, forward-thinking ideas that emphasize creativity and innovation will have the best chance of successfully navigating SXSW community voting, staff analysis and Advisory Board feedback. As above, we strongly strongly encourage you to read the FAQ for helpful tips on creating a winning proposal.