PanelPicker, the official SXSW user-generated session proposal platform, is now accepting entries for the 2020 ATX event, with community voting to follow. Learn more about how to submit a panel concept below.


About SXSW:

The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference & Festivals celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. Fostering creative and professional growth alike, SXSW® is the premier destination for discovery.

The Opportunity:

PanelPicker is a session proposal platform that gives the SXSW community a significant voice in programming conference activities (presentations, panels, discussions, demonstrations, etc.) for SXSW and SXSW EDU. Prospective speakers submit their session ideas to PanelPicker, then the community, SXSW Advisory Board and SXSW staff choose the best proposals. The SXSW PanelPicker is a two-step online process that gives our attendees a significant voice in conference programming (presentations, panels, workshops, etc.) for SXSW and SXSW EDU.

  • Step 1: Entries (July 1-July 19): SXSW calls on the community to enter proposals for conference sessions at all SXSW events.

  • Step 2: Voting (August 5-23): The voting period allows the community to browse proposals, leave comments, and vote for sessions they think would be a good fit for the 2020 event.

During the open application process, we encourage everyone in the SXSW community 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.

Proposal Recommendations:

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.

  • The more specific a proposal, the better. For example, a topic like "How Free Downloads Helped Radiohead" would work better than the more general "Free Downloads and the Future of Music."

  • Cute titles are fun, but your title is going to be fighting for attention with hundreds of other titles. Direct and explanatory titles work best. "Size Matters: Scaling Drupal Web Applications" is better than "Why Size Matters."

  • The supporting material you enter helps viewers to understand your proposal and distinguish it from the competition. Material you enter becomes available for the public to view when the PanelPicker voting phase begins, so it's important that you have the right to use anything you include.

Deadline to Submit: July 19


SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL HERE and tell them Next Gen sent you!

Alex Gordon