July 9, 2024

New York Times Best-selling Author Johann Hari and Prominent Human Rights Lawyer Jennifer Robinson Announced as First Keynote Speakers

Sydney, Australia – Tuesday 9 July, 2024 – South by Southwest® Sydney (SXSW Sydney) has today announced its initial Keynote Speakers for the 2nd edition of its annual Conference.  Celebrating the convergence of ideas, technology, innovation, games, music, and film, SXSW Sydney will take centre stage from October 14–20 in the mecca for creativity, Sydney, Australia.

The first Keynote speaker revealed for the 2024 program is New York Times best-selling author of Magic Pill and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention, Johann Hari.  Collectively, Johann’s TED Talks “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong” and “This Could Be Why You Are Depressed or Anxious” have been viewed more than 93 million times and his books have been translated into 40 languages.  Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention was named as a Book of the Year by The Financial Times, The New York Post, and The Spectator and won multiple awards.

SXSW Sydney is equally thrilled to announce prominent human rights lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, as our second Keynote Speaker.  Robinson is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London specialising in international law, media law and human rights. She has acted in key human rights and climate cases in domestic, regional and international courts, and has been a long-standing member of the legal team defending Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.  Her recent book, How Many More Women?, exposes how the law silences women and explores the legal backlash to the MeToo movement.

SXSW Sydney Managing Director, Colin Daniels said: “Our first two keynote speakers reflect our commitment to fostering challenging conversations. Discussing human rights and our wellbeing, intersecting with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology is more critical than ever. Our keynote speakers will ignite discussions that are not only timely but necessary, as we navigate the complexities of our modern world.”

Other headlining speakers announced today are Co-Founder & CEO of Razer, the world’s leading brand for Gamers Min-Liang Tan, sharing how a two-person startup became a billion-dollar company that kickstarted a whole industry, and Amy Gallo, best-selling author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict. In addition, renowned musician and mindfulness advocate Chad Lawson, ABC radio presenter and host of This Working Life podcast Lisa Leong, CEO of Emergent Global and author of The Leading Edge Holly Ransom, Australian race car driver Molly Taylor, prominent media science researcher Karen Nelson-Field, Billboard Top Music Lawyer Priyanka Khimani, Senior Editor at Rolling Stone India Peony Hirwani, and many more.

Australian actor Luke Hemsworth will moderate a panel titled Better than a Hollywood Movie: The highs, lows, epic moments, and colossal steps forward in bringing back the Tasmanian Tiger, featuring co-founder and CEO of Colossal and serial technology entrepreneur Ben Lamm, and Professor of Biosciences at University of Melbourne TIGRR Lab Andrew Pask. The Colossal team returns to SXSW Sydney to share the latest in their efforts to de-extinct the Thylacine and return the storied animal to Tasmania.

Newly-announced SXSW Sydney 2024 Keynote Speakers:

  • Johann Hari – New York Times best-selling author of Magic Pill and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention
  • Jennifer Robinson – Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London specialising in international law, media law and human rights

Newly-announced SXSW Sydney 2024 Speakers:

  • Min-Liang Tan – Co-Founder & CEO of Razer, the world leading brand for Gamers
  • Amy Gallo – best-selling author of Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the Harvard Business Review Guide to Dealing with Conflict.
  • Chad Lawson – world-renowned, multi-award-winning Pianist, Composer, Podcaster and certified Breathwork Coach and Yogi
  • Priyanka Khimani – leading global expert in entertainment and music rights, especially for India and the South Asian diaspora.
  • Peony Hirwani – Senior Editor at Rolling Stone India  
  • Molly Taylor – Australian race car driver and winner of the Australian Rally Championship, European Ladies Championship and Peter Brock Medal, and first woman to drive the gruelling 14-day Dakar Rally race
  • Karen Nelson-Field – CEO of Amplified Intelligence and author of best-sellers “Viral Marketing” and “The Attention Economy, How Media Works”
  • Andrew Batey – entertainment & technology entrepreneur and Founder and Co-CEO of Beatdapp  

Newly-announced SXSW Sydney 2024 Featured Sessions:

  • Better Than a Hollywood Movie: The Highs, Lows, Epic Moments, and Colossal Steps Forward in Bringing Back the Tasmanian Tiger | Hosted by actor Luke Hemsworth, Ben Lamm, CEO of Colossal Biosciences and Dr. Andrew Pask, Colossal Advisor and Head of the Thylacine Integrated Genomic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Laboratory at the School of BioSciences in the University of Melbourne will discuss their efforts to de-extinct the Thylacine and return the storied animal to Tasmania.  Ben Lamm is a serial technology entrepreneur driven to solve the most complex challenges facing our planet. For over a decade, he has built disruptive businesses that future-proof our world.  Professor Andrew Pask’s research uses comparative mammalian genetics to define regions of the genome targeted by evolution to drive diversity and adaptation. His genetics work has led to the sequencing of several marsupial genomes, including that of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger.  Luke Hemsworth is well known from his run starring as ‘Ashley Stubbs’ in the fan-favourite HBO series Westworld and has also appeared on Young Rock from executive producer Dwayne Johnson.  
  • How to Seize Control of Your Workday | In a conversation explaining how maximising your cognitive and emotional energy will help you to seize control of your workday, Global Director of Wellbeing at Xero Lucas Finch, organisational psychologist Dr Amantha Imber and broadcaster, author and facilitator Lisa Leong discuss how both employees and entrepreneurs can avoid the tyranny of shallow work, conduct effective meetings, and ultimately design a workday that maximises efficiency while combating burnout.
  • Redefining Success: Beyond the 1% | Session Overview: In a world obsessed with the 1%, our panel challenges the traditional notions of success and asks: Have we got the right 1%? Through a dynamic exchange of ideas and personal anecdotes, we’ll explore the dichotomy of the 1% in leadership, sports, and life. From redefining success to prioritising well-being and meaningful connections, our panellists will inspire attendees to reconsider their own definitions of achievement. Featuring CEO of Emergent Global and author of The Leading Edge Holly Ransom, 7X World Champion and Mental Wellness Champion Layne Beachley AO, CEO of Awake Academy Tess Brouwer, and global leader in Positive Psychology, Neuroscience, and Emotional Intelligence & CEO of the Langley Group Sue Langley.

Find out more and view the full list of sessions and events revealed so far at where you can start favouriting your top picks.  Stay tuned for further announcements over the coming months.

The second iteration of SXSW Sydney is shaping up to be something truly special, with today’s announcement of thought-provoking topics and inspiring speakers joining the likes of Australian astronaut Katherine Bennell-Pegg, Global Head of Business Marketing at TikTok Sofia Hernandez, trend curator and Founder of Non-Obvious Rohit Bhargava, venture capitalist Reed Jobs, Google DeepMind researcher Claire Bycroft, and many more.

SXSW Sydney is also excited to announce the first round of partners for the 2024 event. Returning for their second year are: Super Sponsor CommBank, Strategic Sponsors NSW Government & Destination NSW, alongside UTS, Accenture, VentureCrowd, INVNT, Suntory -196, Clear Hayes, WPP, DEPT®, Canada House, Too Far Media, Screen NSW, and Remote.  

SXSW Sydney is also thrilled to welcome new partners for 2024 including CyberCX, Procore, Aussie Broadband, B Lab, Alternaleaf, Papa Salt, Acer x Intel, Amplify, American Apparel, and RAC Arena. Find out more at our website.

SXSW Sydney 2024 Badges are now on sale at the second release rate, secure yours before prices rise on August 30. Learn more and buy your badge today at

SXSW Sydney is an annual gathering of visionaries, thought leaders and emerging talents from the Asia-Pacific region. The week-long program is stacked with more than 1,000 events and networking sessions across the key pillars of Tech & Innovation, Games, Music and Screen. The Event seamlessly integrates art and entrepreneurship, cutting-edge advancements and fostering a collaborative ecosystem where ideas are exchanged, and partnerships are forged. SXSW Sydney 2024 will take place on 14–20 October, on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.

SXSW Sydney is supported proudly by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Plan your SXSW Sydney 2024 trip now, visit

14 – 20 OCTOBER 2024  

For SXSW Sydney media inquiries please contact: | |  

Approved imagery: HERE  

Notes to Editor  

About SXSW®    

South by Southwest (SXSW) dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film and television, music, education, and culture. An essential destination for global professionals, the annual March event features sessions, music, and comedy showcases, film and television screenings, exhibitions, professional development, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2025 will take place March 7-15 in Austin. Learn more at    

About Destination NSW  

Destination NSW is the champion and voice for the visitor economy within the NSW Government. Spearheading a whole-of-government approach to visitor economy growth, Destination NSW influences and shapes the visitor economy through strategic research, policy and thought leadership, stakeholder engagement and consultation, commercial partnerships and investment in visitor experiences, business support, marketing and events. Destination NSW is also the major investor in Business Events Sydney (BESydney) for the purpose of securing more international and domestic conventions, incentive travel reward programs, corporate events and exhibitions.

About TEG  

TEG is a global leader in Live Entertainment, Ticketing and Technology and has been at the heart of the live event experience for 50 years through its touring and ticketing operations. Every day TEG connects fans to experiences and customers with brands. TEG are proud partners of some of the world’s largest and most iconic venues as well as leading global brands and events. Through TEG’s integrated operating model, the business brings the best live content, ticketing, and technology to partners with access to the best and most compelling music, sporting, and entertainment events across the globe. TEG is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and operates globally with offices across Asia, Europe and the US.