SXSW Sydney Conference Adds More Speakers, Unveils Session Select Panels & Presentations

July 6, 2023

The 2023 SXSW Sydney Conference is coming together very, very quickly.

We’ve already announced a whole bunch of speakers who’ll be joining us in October from all over the globe, from a range of industries and areas of expertise. Think environmental biologists, futurists, AI experts, sporting legends, advertising gurus, entrepreneurs and many more.

Regardless of what area you’re interested in, you’re going to find it and so much more at the SXSW Sydney 2023 Conference. If you happened to miss our first couple of Conference announcements, have a read over our blogs here and here.

Today, the Conference is getting even bigger as we announce a new slate of speakers and reveal some of the incredible panels and presentations that have come through our public platform Session Select.

Introducing Our Newest Speakers

Alison Hurbert-Burns, Executive Director, BINGE

As Executive Director of one of Australia’s biggest streaming services, Alison Hurbert-Burns is at the forefront of the local entertainment industry. Appointed shortly after BINGE launched in Australia in 2020, Hurbert-Burns has taken the brand to new heights, massively growing its audience and delivering highly quality local content including the acclaimed Colin From Accounts and Love Me.

With more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry in Australia and overseas – spanning TV, news, and streaming content – we can’t wait to hear from Hurbert-Burns at SXSW Sydney.

Bruna Papandrea, Film Producer

One of the most successful and in-demand producers in the world, Bruna Papandrea’s credits list is a mile long. An Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Papandrea has steered some of the most successful TV shows and films in recent years, including Big Little Lies, Gone Girl, Wild, Anatomy of a Scandal and the Toni Colette-starring Pieces of Her.

Papandrea is the CEO and founder of Made Up Stories, a production, finance and development company that aims to create unique and impactful stories – primarily driven by women. Whether you’re a young screen creative just starting out or an established entertainment exec, you won’t want to miss Bruna Papandrea at SXSW Sydney 2023.

Rathi Murthy, Chief Technology Officer and President, Expedia Product and Technology, Expedia Group

Regarded across the business world as a transformative tech executive, Rathi Murthy has dedicated her career to breaking new ground within the world’s biggest companies. In her former role as CTO of Verizon, Murthy spearheaded the company’s global technology strategy and led the way in 5G innovations. Prior to this she was named Top Woman in Cloud Innovation in 2014 and Top Woman in Payments in 2015, while serving as CIO of American Express.

Murthy has been praised for the pioneering use of AI to improve traveller experiences in her current role as Chief Technology Officer & President at global travel giant Expedia.

Get Acquainted With Our Latest Session Select Panels

Session Select is SXSW Sydney’s public proposal platform, through which the community could submit ideas for panels, discussions, presentations, keynotes and other Conference programming. It’s all about gathering as many brilliant ideas from as many innovators as possible.

We were overwhelmed by the 1,400 excellent Session Select proposals we received, and we’re thrilled to reveal some more that you’ll see at the conference.

Addressing The Global E-Waste Crisis

Australia’s waste and resource recovery industry is being increasingly challenged by complex e-waste. Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest waste estimate figures show the Australian economy domestically generated 539,000 tonnes of e-waste in 2019, with more than 50% going to landfill and only 17.4% being claimed as recycled but much of this goes offshore where outcomes are unknown. UNSW SMaRT Centre Director, Professor Veena Sahajwalla has pioneered the science of microrecycling and developed a range of MICROfactorieTM technologies, including modules to harness from complex e-waste the valuable materials within. She has teamed up with Renew IT CEO James Lancaster to pilot and commercialise this e-waste MICROfactorieTM technology to increase waste resource recovery and sustainably produce some of the essential materials needed for future manufacturing of electrification components.

AI Fluency: What’s Coming For My Job?

Is it time to rethink your career choice, or simply get excited about a new tool that does the heavy lifting? Join us for this special live recording of the University of Sydney’s AI fluency sprint. We’ll have an expert panel featuring Dr Sandra Peter, Prof Kai Riemer, Dr Kellie Nuttall, and host Rae Johnston ready to discuss AI in the workforce and beyond.

Better Than Yesterday With Osher Gunsberg

It’s not always easy to better our best, which is why Back After the Break author Osher Gunsberg brings us for a live recording of his acclaimed podcast, Better Than Yesterday. Joined by special guests Joff Bush and Diane Young, Osher will guide us through how each person can make today a little better than the day before it.

Big Tech And The Transparency Imperative

There are a lot of big advantages to Big Tech. But are there even bigger accountability and transparency issues? In this must-see panel, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant and others discuss Big Tech’s role in creating unsafe spaces online, and what exactly we can do about it.

Brain Computer Interfaces: The Future Of Communication

Delve into the possibilities of a world where if you think it, it shall be so. Our minds will soon have the ability to sync hands-free with digital devices. We’ll cover the implications for humanity and how it might seriously improve the lives of people with severe paralysis, with the ability to control tech through their thoughts.

Changing The Face Of The Tech Industry

The face of Big tech doesn’t have to look like the AI generated lovechild of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. Women, although currently outnumbered, are ready to change the stats within STEM. Come explore ways to reshape the tech industry with Xylo Systems Chief Executive Camille Goldstone-Henry, Missing Perspectives Co-founder Hannah Diviney, Women Rising Founder Megan Dalla-Camina, and Women Love Tech Founder Robyn Foyster.

Death And Dying In Video Games

It’s only a game, but is it warping our perspective around dealing with death? What are the implications when games are the primary way in which most people engage with mortality in contemporary society? From game design to the player experience, explore the many ways that games incorporate both serious and playful themes for better or worse.

Divergence or Convergence: Artificial Intelligence vs Spirituality

Join us as we dive deep into the transformative intersection of AI, science, technology, and spirituality in our event, ‘Divergence or Convergence: Artificial Intelligence vs Spirituality’. We’ll explore everything from Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity theory to the profound wisdom of Australia’s Indigenous culture, alongside renowned thought leaders like Christina Gerakiteys, Simone Plante, and Diana Walsh Pasulka, best selling author of “American Cosmic”.  This intellectually stimulating conversation will not only challenge our understanding of humanity but also unveil the endless opportunities AI brings to our evolving world.

Eat meat, save the planet: A conversation on lab-grown meat

Not a single cow was harmed in the making of this discussion. Join AFR Journalist Yolanda Redrup, Vow Co-founder George Peppou, Blackbird Partner Samantha Wong, and others to discuss the future of lab-grown meat. This one will challenge your conventions and give you an appetite for positive change in the food industry that can grow a more sustainable future for all.

Head & Heart: The Art Of Modern Leadership

Great leaders are always 10 steps ahead. In this session, Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM argues that we need to rethink our century-old ideas around leadership, to ensure we don’t fall behind in a modern, complex world. She shares how our head and heart can be our greatest assets when it comes to having a positive impact on those we lead.

Hiring For The Future Looks A Bit Like Dating Apps

Join world leading Social Psychologist Sandra Matz and Adam Jacobs Co-Founder of Hatch and Co-Founder of THE ICONIC as they delve into the future of hiring. They’ll explore matching people and jobs, using computational psychology and AI to unlock better matches.

How Survivor-Led Solutions Can Heal Trauma

Join Australian activist and 2021 Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, alongside fellow survivor advocates Louise Edmonds, Lula Dembele and Russell Manser, as they explore the root causes of gender violence, the emotional abandonment of children in Australia, and how survivor-led solutions can heal trauma.

Money Don’t Move, Data Does

If we want a vibrant global economy, the continued free-flow of data is critical. Join EPAA chief executive Camilla Bullock, Payments NZ executive Jane-Renee Retimana, PayPal Government Relations Director Holly Dorber, and Independent Director Jane Drak-Brokman on how increasing protectionism hinders free trade, and how open data is the key to economic success.

Mythbusters: Aussie Startup Culture Edition

From half-truths on how companies were built, to straight up falsities, uncover the impact of the ‘tall ones’ we tell around achieving success as a founder, operator or investor. Hear from AfterWork Ventures Co-founder Alex Khor, Marketing Consultant and Advisor Gemma Clancy, Techstars Managing Director Kirsten Hunter, and Venture Capitalist Chris Gillings.

NFTs: Sizzle Or Fizzle?

Unless you’ve had your head under a desk, you’d know the crypto crash has been a brutal reckoning for both the blockchain industry and the NFT space. We’re in serious need of a debrief. Join Culture Vault Co-founder Michelle Grey, Web3 Writer, Angel Investor and Creative Joan Westenberg, Artist, Serwah Attafuah and Artist, Alex Seton as they weigh in on the ups, downs and future of NFT space.

Paul And Andrew Bassat: In Conversation

Seek and you shall find brothers Paul and Andrew Bassat in an exclusive talk about what it takes to build a successful ASX-listed tech company. They’ll touch on how to crack the venture capital game (Square Peg and Seek Investments), and how entrepreneurship is decentralizing beyond Silicon Valley.

Protecting Our Oceans, So They Can Protect Us

It’s not just pretty to look at, the ocean is also a powerful climate solution. Yet less than 3% of it is protected from human-driven damage, globally, and Australia is lagging behind. Listen to Dave Rastovich, Patagonia Global Sports Activist and co-host of Waterpeople podcast, as he chats with ocean-loving friends on why, and how, we must protect precious saltwater paradises.

Reimagining News Media and Business

Can institutions navigate the fine line between expressing viewpoints and fostering unity? Or do they risk contributing to further polarisation? Join Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor and business leader Marina Go as they uncover the pressing issue of declining trust in news media and the quest for positive change.

Save Game: Video Game Collecting At The National Film And Sound Archive Of Australia

The race is on to locate and preserve critical artifacts from the early days of the 21st century’s preeminent form. As we bring games into contemporary cultural and archival practice, members of the NFSA, Screen Australia, and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA) are here to guide us through this exciting new initiative, and on the intersection of video games and government.

The Art of Experience: Beyond The Instagram Wall

Do we continue to design for personal broadcast or course correct for connection, and discovery? Join creatives and producers Alex Tran and Jemma Cole  as they discuss how to sculpt meaningful experiences that drive culture instead of just ‘likes’.

The Battle For Brand: Do You Need A Trade Mark In Today’s Rapidly Evolving World

The protection of ideas, inventions, and creative works is more volatile than ever, with rapid advancements in technology and an interconnected global market. Get ready to delve into the current state of the trademark industry with Owen Raskiewicz from Rask Media, Tracey Berger from IP Australia, Brandon Gien Deputy Chair of Australian Design Council, and Maiko Sentina from Canva.

The Forever Reef Project, A Living Backup For The Biodiversity Of Coral Reefs

Take a deep dive on The Forever Reef Project – a living coral biobank providing a backup plan for the planet’s precious corals. Of 800 known species, the bank currently holds 200, an impressive feat no doubt, but time is ticking to gather and protect those that remain. Hear from conservationists and marine scientists on their plan to safeguard these ecosystems before it’s too late.

The Future of Journalism, Publishing and Truth in the age of AI

In a newfound world of generative content, the boundaries between “real” and “fake” are blurring. Glean from Professor Mary-Anne Williams, an expert in artificial intelligence and digital transformation, Julian Delany, Chief Technology Officer, Data and Digital at News Corp Australia, Outbrain’s Chief Strategy Officer, Gilad de Vries and tech journalist Tegan Jones to discover AI’s impact on the publishing industry.

The Future of Love

You’ll definitely want to swipe right on this one. It’s all about how technology is swiftly changing our relationships – with friends, family and romantic partners. Dr Sandersan Onie from the Black Dog Institute will join Rob Brooks from the University of New South Wales to offer insights on creating successful and enriching relationships well into the future.

The Future Of Music Tech

With an increasing number of home studios, laptop producers and AI algorithms taking over the industry, technology has well and truly hit a high note. Hear from visionary founders and investors on the future of music and technology, as we look ahead at a world of sonically sensational possibilities.

The Myth Of The Single User

In law, there’s the “reasonable man”. In commerce, the “rational consumer”. In tech, it’s the “single user”. Join our panel of academics and creators as they examine how extended reality and interactive media technologies could offer possible solutions to the “single user” problem – through embracing neurodivergence and bodily expressions across all users.

The Next 60,000 Years Of Design

The future of design is connecting with Country, but is Australia mature enough to place First Nations cultures at the crux? Hear about the cultural, social and environmental importance of looking to the ancient systems and knowledge of Australia’s First Peoples, and how this will shape the next 60,000 years of design.

The Next Gen Blak Storytellers

Meet the First Nations storytellers who are all about representing ‘modern’ Blak stories. These writers and directors demand space to showcase stories and characters that break the norm of First Nations depictions in the screen industry, moving beyond history and traditional culture. With Kodie Bedford, Jub Clerc and Leah Purcell, moderated by Brooke Boney.

The Truth About Reinvention

What happens when you face retirement at 36 after winning seven world titles? Have you peaked too early? Is the ride well and truly over? Hear from Mental Wellness advocate, and 7x World Surfing Champion Layne Beachley, as she shares her personal account of reinvention and breaking the mould.

Three Elephants In A Room: Sex, Money, And Power

Yep, we’re going there. Join us to tackle the taboo as we discuss three of the most complex and charged topics in our society – sex, money, and power. This session brings together three gutsy panelists and a moderator to seize these elephants by the tusk, with an open and honest discussion that’s no holds barred.

Voices Of Change For The Next Generation

As the largest generation to have ever existed, Gen Z accounts for over 30% of the world’s population. Which means they’re big enough drive some really meaningful change. Founder of Social Good Platform, Woven Threads, Michi Marosszeky will lead an engaging discussion with social entrepreneur and founder of Australia’s leading food rescue charity, OzHarvest, Ronni Kahn AO, Indigenous rights activist, Thomas Mayo and non-binary host, model and influencer, Christian Wilkins.

What Can Music’s History Tell Us About AI’s Future?

In the 80s and 90s, hip-hop used samples to push the boundaries of music. But who owned what in a world of copyright calamity? Grand-master-flash-forward to today, and it’s a same-same but different problem, with generative AI. Join our panelists to explore fairness, humanity, and creativity in leveraging new technologies, with a diverse panel of experts in law, AI, technology, and music.

What Will Venture Capital Look Like In 2050?

Ever since its boom time in the 1990s, Venture Capital has grown exponentially in Australia. Join Jessy Wu from AfterWork Ventures, Tom Humphrey from Blackbird, Craig Blair from Airtree and Kylie Frazer from Flying Fox Ventures as they discuss the challenges and opportunities in the industry today, and cast an eye forward to what venture capital will look like in 2050.

When Music Videos Meet AI

Forty years on from when “Video killed the Radio Star” the music video is still a powerful tool for promotion. And is becoming even more mind-bending, thanks to cutting-edge technology and your own creative vision. Join Silverchair’s Ben Gillies as he and a panel of AI industry experts deliver a crash course in creating music videos with AI.  

So What Are You Waiting For?

We’re incredibly excited by these Session Select picks, and it’s just a taste of what’s to come at the SXSW Sydney Conference. For more information on what to expect, have a read over our blog; The Session Select Submissions That Are Shaping The SXSW Sydney 2023 Conference.

Don’t wait around, and don’t miss out: SXSW Sydney badges are now on sale. And if you grab one now you’ll save up to $200 on Industry Badges, and up to $400 on Platinum Badges.

Buy your SXSW Sydney badge here.