The Session Select Submissions That Are Shaping The SXSW Sydney 2023 Conference

June 14, 2023

The countdown to SXSW Sydney 2023 is well underway and we’re thrilled to reveal the ever-growing list of Session Select Submissions which continue to shape the conference line-up.

The Session Select process was developed to embrace our community of creative thinkers and the response was astounding: we received over 1,400 submissions from innovators and creators from all around the world. We then put these game-changing ideas in the form of panels, presentations, speakers, mentor sessions and workshops to the public to have their say, garnering more than 100,000 votes in less than three weeks.

It’s because of this collaborative approach that we’re so excited to share our ever-growing conference line-up picked via Session Select as follows:

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.

Asian Creators Index: The Most Exciting Creators of Our Generation

Eunice Tan — Group CEO of The Secret Little Agency is bringing together some of the best and brightest from a region where innovation meets ancient artistry. The panel will share their expertise on collaborating with Asia’s thriving creative community. Join them for a discussion on diversity, inclusivity and connecting with the diaspora of creators.

Better Than Yesterday With Osher Günsberg

It’s not always easy to better our best, which is why Back After the Break author Osher Günsberg brings us 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 Foyster Media 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

Strap yourself in. This one’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a chat on all things AI and its cross pollination with spirituality, that creates a new human condition. Hear from Tyson Yunkaporta from Deakin University and others on the fascinating intersection of the past and future. Where technological know-how meets the ancient wisdom and storytelling of Australia’s First Peoples.

Eat meat, save the planet: A conversation on cultured 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.

Finding Work Life Balance: Can We Achieve The Ultimate Goal?

Join an inspiring and unexpected journey with Ben Crowe to discover the magical and counterintuitive principles behind the world’s most successful athletes, CEOs and teams. You’ll get insight into how they balance work, life and ultimately achieve success.

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.

Hip-Hop: How A Generation Is Changing the World

When it comes to empowering minority groups, there’s few musical forces out here doing it like hip-hop. The revolutionary cultural wave is sweeping our shores and there’s no denying Australia has become a hotbed of global talent. Matthew Craig from AUD’$ is bringing together Corey ‘Nooky’ Webster (We Are Warriors, triple j’s Blak Out), Jannah Beth (Elefant Traks, Offbeat Collective) and Abraham Poni (66Records). Join them for a conversation on building community, boosting local voices and inspiring future generations.

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.

Immersive audio – The Future of Entertainment  

Hear from industry greats Marc Fennell, Chantelle Otten, Pat Abboud and Karen Appathurai Wiggins about crafting emotion-stirring narratives and educating listeners through the power of audio, moderated by Karen Appathurai Wiggins, VP & Head of Content, APAC, at Audible.

It’s 2050 And The Robots Are Among Us

The robot population hit 8.6 million in 2021, where will it be in 2050? This session will take a deep dive into the evolution of robots, the tech’s ethics, how they’re used for good, evil and in dangerous environments, plus making AI more culturally diverse.

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.

New Music Trends Across Greater China

In this post-COVID world, Greater China’s music industries are coming back to life, with legendary Mandopop stars releasing new albums to reinvigorate their dedicated fanbases. But how are younger artists challenging the supremacy of these astronomically successful artists? Find out more in this insightful session.

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.

Our Moonshoots To Net Zero By 2030

To achieve Net Zero by 2030, electrify our society, remove the plastic from our oceans, protect our precious diversity and feed 9 billion people, we need a new type of thinking. This session will explore what Moonshot thinking is and give you the tools to set your own ambitious goals to create a better future for all.

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.

Question Everything LIVE  

Noted truthers Jan Fran and Wil Anderson are bringing their popular ABC show Question Everything to the stage. A merry(ish) band of Aussie comedians will be on hand to help them give the audience a lesson in media literacy. This is a panel for anyone who has been lied to by the media or been tempted by the “information” sent through social feeds or the family WhatsApp. So, all of us.

Rage With The Machine: Harnessing The Creativity Of AI In Music And Songwriting

What does it mean to be a music artist, composer, songwriter or music producer in a time of emerging tech and AI? This session will look at the latest breakthroughs in digital tools, the use of AI in the songwriting and music product process, plus what’s in store for the not-too-distant future.

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.

Sports Marketing: How Do We Guarantee The Future Of Sports Entertainment?

With waning interest among Gen Z,  platform viewing proliferation and increased competition globally, our sports industry is facing more challenges than ever. How do we engage the next generation of fans? Join this session to find out, while exploring the landscape of sports marketing.

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, Jemma Cole, Alex ‘Katzki’ George, and Emilie Sullivan 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 Full Stack Human

What is a Full Stack human? This session will discuss what they are, while exploring their diversity, collaborative and forward-thinking nature. Expect your horizons to be expanded, and discover how adaptability is required to solve humanity’s biggest challenges.

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 and others to discover AI’s impact on the publishing industry, including its influence on content consumption and trust.

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 New Playbook for Building Iconic Brands

The award-winning Icons in the Making podcast is coming to Sydney, courtesy of the pioneering creative consultancy, Lippincott. From Canva, the design startup that’s changing the way we create; to Telstra, the heritage brand connecting Australia for over a century — join this lively discussion featuring some of today’s leading marketers. Hear Heather Stern, Zach Kitschke and Brent Smart talk about what it takes to build and grow an iconic brand.

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 Science of Sync: Music in Advertising

Music can bring joy, move people to tears and it can also sell you something. So, what’s the science behind a good sync? Join this panel of ad execs and recording artists — including ARIA CEO Annabelle Herd, Russel Howcroft, and Holly Rankin (Jack River) — in a Gruen-style discussion. From selling products to launching careers, we’ll uncover the impact of well-chosen music and explore how it resonates with audiences on a deeper level, and how the importance of music in ads has even led to a new ARIA Award for Best Use of Australian Music in Advertising.

The Secret Benefits of Universal Design

How can disability make innovation unique? With a captivating storytelling style, join Tom Nash in a perspective-changing session about how Universal Design solves problems for the individual while having unintended positive consequences for the wider population. From lever-style door handles to voice recognition technologies, discover how disability designs have become crucial tools in today’s world.

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.

Thriving In The Future (Of Work)

With AI doing the grunt work and remote working making our lives supremely flexible, the future promises a more fulfilling work life. Join this star panel featuring Derek Laney (Slack from Salesforce), Dominic Price (Atlassian), Mary Lemonis (REA Group) and Ross Dawson (Advanced Human Technologies Group) as they tackle the future of work and productivity.

Unleashing The Power of Storytelling to Ignite Indigenous Leadership  

The traditional Western model of education is failing our young First Nations peoples. This session will explore how better career and educational outcomes can be achieved through stronger connection to culture, country and the arts — featuring the expertise of Wesley Enoch, Lillian Banks, Thomas E.S. Kelly and Kim Walker. Hear the stories of three impressive future leaders and how NAISDA (Australia’s National training institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) takes a radically different approach, by putting Indigenous culture at the core.

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 is ready to slay, 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 Can We Learn From The Skies Of Alien Planets? Astrophysicists Tell All

Bringing together astronomy experts, this session will delve into scientific research that informs our understanding of space, the potential habitability of these worlds and the search for life beyond our solar system. Plus, how artists and writers have influenced aliens in pop culture.

What’s Next in Gaming Innovation?

Brent Koning, EVP, Global Gaming, will be delving deep into the latest trends and developments, sharing which new technology will transform the way we play. For this unique behind-the-scenes look into the gaming industry, attendees will get actionable insights to stay ahead of the incoming curve. Whether you’re a developer, publisher, operator, or just a gaming enthusiast, this is a room you need to be in.

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, and Craig Blair from Airtree, 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.  

Yarning Strong – Songlines: The Intersection of Music, Creativity and Culture

Music, spirituality, and creativity have been essential in guiding and supporting First Nations people, strengthening their ties to land, kin, and culture. Integrating these elements into the contemporary Australian music landscape has posed challenges. Join Mitch Tambo for an insightful panel with two accomplished First Nations music industry leaders, discussing their career experiences, lessons learned, and future plans. Gain unique insight into how they built their music careers, their lived experiences, celebrating triumphs, and overcoming challenges and barriers.

Tackle Timely Topics

As you can see from the Session Select Submissions so far, the SXSW Sydney 2023 Conference will tackle the most timely topics, from climate change to the Metaverse and everything in between.

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