SXSW Sydney Has Announced Its First 2024 Keynote Speakers and Added a Stack of New Sessions to Its Growing Lineup

Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson and author Johann Hari will get chatting at the festival's second event Down Under in October 2024.
Sarah Ward
Published on July 09, 2024

SXSW Sydney's 2024 program continues to roll out, in excellent news for fans of the tech, innovation, screen, music, games and culture festival in general — and also of hearing interesting discussions echo through the event. In the third batch of lineup details for this year, following a first batch in May and a second round in June, the initial two keynote speakers have been announced. Human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson and author Johann Hari will each take to the stage, one fresh from defending Julian Assange and the other with book Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight Loss Drugs newly on shelves.

"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," said SXSW Sydney Managing Director Colin Daniels, announcing Robinson and Hari's spots on the 2024 program.

"Our keynote speakers will ignite discussions that are not only timely but necessary, as we navigate the complexities of our modern world."

Alongside being a London barrister with international law and media law also among her specialities — and already named on SXSW Sydney's 2024 lineup earlier in the year — Robinson published How Many More Women? in 2023, digging into the response to the #MeToo movement from a legal sense. Hari's 2022 text Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention earned acclaim around the world, and his TED Talks Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong and This Could Be Why You Are Depressed or Anxious have notched up 93-million-plus views.

Also now on the bill are fellow speakers Min-Liang Tan, the CEO of Razer; Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) author Amy Gallo; Rolling Stone India Senior Editor Peony Hirwani; and Australian race car driver Molly Taylor. Pianist, podcaster and Chad Lawson will also get chatting, as will entertainment and music rights expert Priyanka Khimani, Beatdapp Founder Andrew Batey and The Attention Economy, How Media Works author Karen Nelson-Field.

Scott Cullather at his WEB3 panel at SXSW Sydney.

The festival will welcome Luke Hemsworth, too, with the Westworld and Bosch & Rockit star hosting the session Better Than a Hollywood Movie: The Highs, Lows, Epic Moments and Colossal Steps Forward in Bringing Back the Tasmanian Tiger, with Colossal Biosciences CEO Ben Lamm and University of Melbourne's Head of the Thylacine Integrated Genomic Restoration Research (TIGRR) Laboratory Dr Andrew Pask diving into the topic. Talks on How to Seize Control of Your Workday and Redefining Success: Beyond the 1% will also expanded the roster of sessions, and demonstrate that variety is firmly at the heart of the festival.

SXSW Sydney's new additions for 2024, the event's second year Down Under, join the likes of Australian astronaut Katherine Bennell-Pegg, TikTok marketing head Sofia Hernandez, Heartbreak High star Ayesha Madon, cricketer David Warner, Mortal Kombat director Simon McQuoid and documentary Slice of Life: The American Dream. In Former Pizza Huts, about the new uses of former Pizza Hut buildings across America — and that's barely scratching the surface of the lineup specifics announced so far.

If you missed it, 2023's inaugural SXSW Sydney welcomed everyone from Black Mirror's Charlie Brooker and Chance The Rapper to Future Today Institute founder and CEO Amy Webb and Nicole Kidman to its stages. In the process, and via not just its talks but also its concerts, films, TV shows and games as, it notched up 287,014 attendances from 97,462 unique attendees. Those figures came from 34,975 total tickets, with folks from 41 countries heading along to 1178 sessions.

SXSW Sydney 2024 will run from Monday, October 14–Sunday, October 20 at various Sydney venues. Head to the SXSW Sydney website for further details.

Images: Jami Joy, Ian Laidlaw, Jess Gleeson, Katje Ford and Paul McMillan.

Published on July 09, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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