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Jeffrey Walker, Chair PAR 3, Mailcode B5500, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-6109

Rhetoric and Writing Major Lily Parish Reflects: SXSW Interactive 2014

Posted: April 1, 2014
Credit: Lily Parish

Credit: Lily Parish

Lily Parish, a senior in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, attended South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive from March 7-11 in Austin, TX. She attended thanks to the Appleman Endowment, which is used to support undergraduate research and professional opportunities.

By Lily Parish

Attending SXSW Interactive was an educational and exciting experience. There is nothing quite like this strange amalgamation of incredibly intelligent and inspired people. Although Interactive attendees tend to be stereotyped as sort of “hipster-geeks” the label could not be more misleading. The group was colorful and varied, making it a truly unique week of learning, networking and inspiration.

Since my personal interests are in storytelling, I sought out panels that dealt with this craft as well as panels that overlapped with the film festival, which occurred at the same time. My understanding of storytelling in the modern, digital age was definitely broadened. I learned about storytelling across platforms, in collaboration with a larger communities as well as cutting edge tools to use to maximize the narrative.

I also learned how storytelling can be used in more ways than just entertainment. I saw Neil De Grasse Tyson tell stories of the Universe, I saw Jason Schwartzman narrate his love for Austin and our filmmaking scene and I saw the founders of Bedpost Confessions speak on the therapeutic aspects of stories. In short, I saw that my love for storytelling can go much further than I ever imagine, and if used intelligently and wisely, can be a powerful tool in the professional world.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend SXSW Interactive 2014 and I hope that it is just the beginning of my story with this festival.

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