From social activism in the athletic sphere to aerospace manufacturing for outer space, today’s Conference Featured Speakers and Featured Sessions span across the many themes and industries that come together at SXSW to present a snapshot of the ideas that can most transform our future.
“The seven programming themes powering SXSW Online 2021 are well represented in the speakers that make up today’s announcement,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. “From Alexis Ohanian of the 776 Fund to interdisciplinary artist Torkwase Dyson to documentary filmmaker Erin Lee Carr, these lineup additions highlight the kind of world-class creative thinkers for which SXSW is so well known. Add in the recently announced content from the SXSW Film Festival and the SXSW Music Festival — and you have that convergence of creativity that no other event in the world can offer.”
Featured Speakers announced today include James Altucher, Erin Lee Carr, Mark Cuban, Torkwase Dyson, Tim Ellis, Lori Gottlieb, Imogen Heap, Wyclef Jean, Jeff Lawson, Kai-Fu Lee, Alexis Ohanian, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Sebastian Tomich, Chris Webber, and more. Get to know the latest round of speakers below and browse the Featured Speakers lineup for a complete list of previously announced programming with more to come throughout the season.
Register to attend SXSW Online 2021, a premiere digital experience from March 16–20. Gain access to all Conference sessions, Film Festival screenings, Music Festival showcases, world-class networking, and the unexpected discoveries that are always a part of SXSW. With one pass that covers the entire event, attendees have the opportunity to take in programming and connect with others across the many industries that SX serves.
Entrepreneur, angel investor, chess master, and the Wall Street Journal bestselling-author of Choose Yourself, James Altucher in conversation with Square co-founder Jim McKelvey
Creative director, author, costume designer, celebrity stylist, #Rockmom and social media maven June Ambrose in conversation with Emmy-nominated creative director and choreographer Laurieann Gibson
CEO & President of Favor, and H-E-B Chief Digital Officer Jag Bath
Oregon Congressman (OR-03) and founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and champion of cannabis legalization in Congress Earl Blumenauer
Director, producer, and writer; named one of the “30 Under 30” most influential people in media in 2019 by Forbes, Erin Lee Carr
Artist and painter working across multiple mediums to explore the continuity between ecology, infrastructure, and architecture, Torkwase Dyson
Psychotherapist, writer of The Atlantic‘s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column, co-host of the popular podcast Dear Therapists, and author of the New York Times bestseller Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, Lori Gottlieb in conversation with New York Times bestselling author, host of PBS show Tell Me More, and host of Kelly Corrigan Wonders, Kelly Corrigan
Two-time Grammy nominated choreographer, director, and performance artist Ryan Heffington
Co-founder and CEO of Twilio Jeff Lawson
Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, and president of Sinovation Ventures Artificial Intelligence Institute Kai-Fu Lee
Executive Director of Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation Cat Packer in conversation with writer and reporter Amanda Chicago Lewis
Kansas City Chiefs right guard, medical student, and doctorate in medicine graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
New York Times Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions Sebastian Tomich
3D Printing is Launching Rockets to the Future – Society sees space as futuristic. However, aerospace manufacturing hasn’t evolved in 60 years – large factories, fixed tooling, complex supply chains, and extensive manual labor continues to hold the industry back. However, over the past five years, Relativity Space has built an unrivaled team revolutionizing how rockets are built and flown by fusing 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robotics. Join co-founder and CEO of Relativity Tim Ellis and space evangelist and influencer @Astroathens Athena Brensberger, for a featured session at SXSW. The two will discuss the origin story of Relativity, how and why the Relativity team continues to build towards the uncharted future, and the company’s role in expanding the possibilities for humanity’s multi-planetary future.
Amplifying Athlete Voices Off the Court – Athletes have been using their platform and voices for decades to bring light to social issues on and off the field of play, but 2020 brought upon new urgency when COVID-19 and the killings of Black citizens like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor coincided in the span of a few months. Bleacher Report and Turner Sports will bring together a panel of stakeholders including Turner analysts Candace Parker, Chris Webber, and Senior Vice President of NBA Digital Content Operations and Diversified Sports Content Eric Jackson, who will dive into how these brands are concentrated on raising athletes’ voices on social issues to new heights and the importance of highlighting athlete activism.
Beyond the Tank: Investing in Your Community – Kendra Scott and Mark Cuban discuss the importance of entrepreneurship on the local level, their own passions for supporting entrepreneurship in their communities, what they each look for in an investment, and advice for the audience in how to secure investors and succeed in business – especially during a pandemic.
Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty – There is a growing movement of businesses around the world who are using their voices to advance and protect human rights. This includes a call to end the death penalty – the most inhumane form of punishment, proven repeatedly too cruel, ineffective, and discriminatory in its application. Hear from Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin and long-time campaigner; Sabrina Butler Smith, only one of two women in the USA exonerated from death row; and Celia Ouellette, CEO, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice and a former death penalty defense lawyer, about the role businesses can play in calling for abolition.
Creating Through a Crisis – Join Adobe executive, author, and entrepreneur Scott Belsky for an inspiring discussion of the ways creativity will shape our new, post-pandemic world and the exciting ways we can all be a part of the creative revolution.
Fan & Band Interaction in Livestream & XR – A discussion about how to transform and engage todays’ audience of active online users and create a connection between fans and bands with two-time Grammy-awarded producer, writer, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and technologist Imogen Heap, and leader, innovator, and Fantracks Digital CEO Ty Roberts.
How to Build a More Authentic Online Community – Join social media pioneer and founder of the venture capital fund Seven Seven Six Alexis Ohanian as he explores the future of online community building alongside three architects at the forefront of social media’s next wave. Realtime’s Vernon Coleman, Gloria’s Victoire Cogevina, and Dispo’s David Dobrik will join Ohanian to deconstruct the social media landscape and discuss how they’re individually building unique, authentic, and sustainable online communities for this new age.
The New Marketplace of Music Royalties – A discussion around maximizing and navigating royalty opportunities for musicians and how the music modernization act will transform the landscape for music royalties with head of educational partnerships for The Mechanical Licensing Collective Serona Elton; founder and CEO of Sound Royalties Alex Heiche; entertainment lawyer Robert A. Celetsin; and Grammy award-winning musician and actor Wyclef Jean.
Stepping into Space: The ISS Experience – Join NASA astronaut Jessica Meir; Creative Director from Felix & Paul Studios Félix Lajeunesse; and Executive Producer from TIME Studios Jonathan Woods, as they discuss the making of Space Explorers: The ISS Experience, the largest production ever filmed in space. Shot over two years, the series offers an intimate take on the joy, wonder, and dangers of life in orbit as Jessica Meir and seven of her fellow astronauts take on life-changing missions aboard the International Space Station. Joined by moderator Laura Mingail, Meir, Lajeunesse, and Woods will share their personal experiences, challenges and the meaning that their epic four-part immersive series conveys for each.
The Way Forward for Artists – A candid conversation about the future of creating a sustainable income for artists and controlling their own destiny with former global head of music at William Morris, founder of Lollapalooza, and recent founder of Savelive – a national live venue network designed to reinvent and rescue music clubs across the U.S. – Marc Geiger and founder and former CEO of Pandora and co-founder of live-streaming platform Sessions Tim Westergren.
Register for SXSW Online 2021
From March 16-20, experience Conference sessions and Keynotes, music showcases, film screenings, world-class networking, online exhibitions, networking events, mentor sessions, professional development, and more, all in a digital setting. SXSW Comedy Festival content will be announced as we get closer to the March event.
2021 Featured Speakers (l-r) Chris Webber, Erin Lee Carr, and Mark Cuban
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