OHIO students gain unparalleled experiences and networking opportunities during SXSW

Published: April 27, 2022 Author: Samantha Pelham

Thirty Ohio University students had the opportunity to take part in one of the most impactful experiential learning opportunities offered for creative professionals, as they spent 10 days at South by Southwest (SXSW).

Started in 2014, the Ohio University SXSW industry immersion course offered through the School of Media Arts and Studies (MDIA) provides students with access to the largest and most prominent national gathering of the creative media industry, offering an unparalleled convergence of music, interactive media, and the film industry and fostering an engaging atmosphere for professional and educational growth.

“There really isn’t an analog elsewhere to the types of engagement opportunities SXSW provides,” MDIA Director Josh Antonuccio said. “It is much more than a festival, it is an unrivaled convergence of the tech and interactive industries, the music industry, and the film and TV industries. Thousands of artists, authors, bands, legends, industry leaders and analysts, change agents, and entrepreneurs descend on Austin, Texas, over 10 days and our students are there to learn from and network with them.”

During the week at SXSW, students participated in panel discussions, keynote addresses, interviews, workshops, as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry professionals in their field that are crucial for learning about what is happening now but also where the industries are going in the next year and beyond. Additionally, students had access to hundreds of events in their areas of interest, including music showcases with established and upcoming artists, film premieres featuring directors and cast members, technology demonstrations of the newest trends in traditional, VR, and emerging media, and countless opportunities to explore creative expression across multiple venues in the city. 

Due to the wide variety of activities and speakers at the event, students based their experience on their own interests and what they thought would better their growth, meaning each student could have an entirely different experience tailored to their goals.

Follow three students’ different experiences by clicking a student’s name:

Students observed firsthand the scope and networks that exist within today’s current music and media industries and built strategic partnerships for internships and jobs with potential employers, colleagues and clients. According to Antonuccio, 100% of student attendees reported meeting significant industry professionals in their career field, with a significant number already securing leads on internship and job opportunities, including graduating senior Sarah Kloboves.

Kloboves was recently hired at the music analytics company Chartmetric in New York City where she will be part of their music marketing team. She attributes her experience at SXSW for helping her land the job, saying that the company was impressed by the fact that she attended the festival.

“This trip encapsulates the essence of experiential learning, giving students the opportunity to directly engage with the people and the communities that represent their career passions,” Antonuccio added. “It is easily one of the most significant experiential learning opportunities we offer, and I have personally seen it completely change the lives of hundreds of students, with many of our prominent alumni pointing back to this experience as the catalyst for their journey to success.”

To be chosen to participate in this experience, students apply early in fall semester and are notified if they’re accepted in late October/early November.

Click here to learn more about the SXSW immersion course.