SXSW – Creativity and Convergence

This week Austin, Texas is the vortex of the worlds of interactive, film and music. SXSW organizers have created an event that should encourage those who believe the arts are endangered. And for those whose dream job fits into the artistic, entrepreneurial and creative, the Texas state capital is the place to be.

This year Jimmy Kimmel is broadcasting his late night show from Austin and Rand Paul has been showing up at meet ups and receptions.

SXSW was originally staged as a music festival in 1987 and as the Austin economy grew to embrace film and technology companies, SXSW broadened its’ mission adding the interactive and film conferences in 1994. SXSWedu joined the program in 2011 and this year has grown to a four day conference for educators to connect and drive innovation in how we teach and learn.

In an interview with The New York Times, festival director Hugh Forrest described the essence of the festival:“South by Southwest is always about up-and-coming talent, be it a band or filmmaker or technology developer, and that holds true in 2015.”

‘Convergence Day’ provides an opportunity for all attendees to mix at meet ups and panels and discuss cross disciplinary topics including the topic of “Music As Personalized Medicine”.  Using research findings that 18 hours of music a week can have a significant effect on physiology and well-being, “This session will pilot a new technology and begin the largest living experiment to analyze how the music you’re listening to impacts your health.”

There are also practical conversations. Tom Sachs, the internationally-acclaimed contemporary artist and Carter Cleveland, CEO of Artsy discussed ‘Is Good Business the Best Art?’ on Sunday. Their discussion wrestled with the question many face; Can you be successful and not sell your soul?

Current hot industry topics also find a platform with panels on ‘Content, Copyright and Commerce’ and ‘Compensating College Athletes for Their Likeness’.

SXSW is a visible demonstration of barriers collapsing. We live in a multidisciplinary world where imaginative connections create new business opportunities.

While TED in Vancouver is the tightly scripted corporate event, SXSW is organized ‘happenstance’. By bringing together innovators in a variety of creative enterprises, the event captures boundless energy with a soundtrack for the future. It’s March Madness without the brackets.





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