SXSW Sydney 2023 announces first speakers, events, badge details

SXSW Sydney is set to kick off on 15 October 2023. Here's everything you need to know.
sxsw sydney speakers event

SXSW Sydney, the debut Australian event for the long-running creative festival and celebration of ideas, has announced its first batch of speakers, alongside fresh details about its upcoming event precinct, how the show will run, and what you can expect to pay for tickets.

The show will feature a range of creative talent from across the global creative industry, with several local and international guests given a spotlight. The headlining guest for the Games portion of the show is the talented, BAFTA-winning Sam Barlow of Half Mermaid Productions, known for his work on interactive narrative games like Her Story, Telling Lies, and one of 2022’s best games, Immortality.

Representing local Australian games will be Kyas Hepworth, Head of Screen NSW, who is currently working to better support video games, and elevate them in the eyes of creative government organisations.

SXSW Sydney: Confirmed Guests and Speakers

Here is the full list of confirmed guests and speakers for SXSW Sydney so far:

  • Amy Webb – Future Today Institute | Convergence
  • Professor Andrew Pask – The University of Melbourne | Tech & Innovation
  • Ben Lamm – Colossal | Tech & Innovation 
  • Guy Kawasaki – Canva | Tech & Innovation
  • Jack Reis – Baidam Solutions | Tech & Innovation
  • Kyas Hepworth – Screen NSW | Screen
  • Larissa Behrendt – University of Technology Sydney | Convergence
  • Manal al-Sharif – Women’s Rights Activist | Tech & Innovation
  • Michael Biercuk – Q-CTRL | Tech & Innovation
  • Per Sundin – Pophouse Entertainment | Music
  • Que Minh Luu – Netflix | Screen
  • Robyn Denholm – Tesla & Blackbird Ventures | Tech & Innovation
  • Rohit Bhargava – The Non-Obvious Company | Convergence
  • Sam Barlow – Half Mermaid Productions | Gaming
  • Sean Miyashiro – 88rising | Music
  • Sung Eun YOUN – Film Critic | Screen
  • Dr Sheila Nguyen – FIFA Women’s World Cup | Convergence
  • Tom Verrilli – Twitch | Tech & Innovation
  • Yoomin Yang – WOW POINT | Screen
  • Yiying Lu – Adobe Global Creative Ambassador | Convergence

This is only the first round of speakers, and there will be plenty more to come.

Several music acts have also been confirmed to perform at the show, including EKKSTACY, redveil, Los Bitchos, Connie Constance and Otoboke Beaver, with more to be announced.

SXSW Sydney: Event Precinct

sxsw sydney event precinct
Image: SXSW Sydney

As announced, SXSW Sydney will not only be relegated to its home base in the International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney – there will also be a number of other activations, exhibits, and parties around Sydney during the festival, involving the Powerhouse Museum, the Landsdowne Hotel, Central Park Mall, Haymarket, and other locales.

While exact details of these additional events have not been announced, SXSW Sydney hopes to entice the wider public for its upcoming showcase:

‘SXSW Sydney is about discovery, networking and fun – all within a walkable footprint across Sydney’s CBD and surrounding neighbourhoods,’ the event’s official website reads. ‘Across Haymarket, Darling Harbour, Ultimo, Chippendale and beyond – the city’s best museums, cinemas, parks, bars and restaurants will transform into a vibrant interconnected hub of future-focused ideas, parties, unique events and networking opportunities to uncover on every street corner.

Stay tuned for more details on these events.

SXSW Sydney: Badges and Pricing

Those keen to attend SXSW Sydney, which is largely an industry-facing event, will need to fork out for elusive badges. Here’s the full cost breakdown for every themed track:

  • Platinum Badge (All Access) AU $1,295 for Early Bird Tickets
  • Tech & Innovation Badge AU $895 for Early Bird Tickets
  • Gaming Badge AU $895 for Early Bird Tickets
  • Music Badge AU $895 for Early Bird Tickets
  • Screen Badge AU $895 for Early Bird Tickets

‘A SXSW Sydney badge will grant you access to groundbreaking events and a chance to connect with some of the world’s leading thinkers, performers and industry professionals. It’s your ticket into our Conferences, Expo and Festivals, networking sessions and more, with each badge type giving you varying kinds of access,’ according to SXSW Sydney.

You can find out more about each badge, or purchase one for yourself on the SXSW Sydney website.

SXSW Sydney is set to run in Sydney, Australia from 15-22 October 2023. Head to the website to learn more about what’s in store.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.