"PanelPicker connects us with the thousands of creative professionals, experienced experts and informed consumers that make up the global SXSW community. This interface helps us identify the most compelling new ideas within the many different industries we serve and, in so doing, keeps SXSW exciting, timely, and relevant."
– Hugh Forrest, SXSW Chief Programming Officer
The PanelPicker is a two-step online process that allows the SXSW community to have a significant voice in programming conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.) for SXSW and SXSW EDU
STEP 1 encourages the community to enter proposals for daytime conference programming for all 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.
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 PanelPicker was expanded to include SXSW Music and SXSW Film. SXSW EDU also joined the PanelPicker process in 2012.
For 2017, SXSW brought our three conferences (Music, Film, and Interactive) under one umbrella. For 2019, we will continue in this direction to help create a more cohesive conference experience for our attendees, all in the hopes of giving the community more programming choices throughout SXSWeek.
How does this affect the SXSW PanelPicker Entry process? In the past, we separated out which conference you wanted to enter a proposal for. Now you'll see all the tracks listed under one SXSW Conference form. While the tracks will still have a conference focus, having all proposals entered into one area will help our community be able to search and engage with all ideas and across industries! We hope you're as excited about this change as we are.
This change also gives us flexibilty in planning when, where, and for long tracks will take place during SXSWeek.
The Application Process
During the open application process, we encourage anyone to upload proposals for solo presentations, panels, book readings, workshops, 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.
The Selection Process
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 staffers work to fill any gaps in relevant subject matter, striking a balance between new and veteran speakers.
The Competition: Over 5,700 proposals received For 2018
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.