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SXSW 2017 - Bristol & Bath delegation

Published on Thursday, 7th July 2016

We're organising another trip of a lifetime to the world's largest Interactive Festival, SXSW in Austin, Texas.  Earlier this year 22 people from agencies across Bristol and Bath including Sawdays, Armadillo, McCann, e3, Taxi, ADLIB, Search, Star, Indicia and Mud, enjoyed the 'South by' experience and came back full of energy, enthusiasm and ideas ready to share with their teams.  (Some of them were full of Texan beer and Tacos too, but that’s another story!)

Keen to build on the initiative, Bristol Media Board Director Chris Thurling will once again lead the delegation, and we hope that even more agencies will join us to help spread the word about our creative sector in Bristol and Bath, and to bring back their learnings to our community.

New for 2017

We're also launching a new SXSW focused initiative that combines the goal of bringing greater diversity and opportunity into the creative sector with our overall aim of driving the fame of the region.

In association with Bristol based Babbassa we are running a competitiion to find a 'SXSW Apprentice' from a socially disadvantaged background who will receive a bursary to cover the costs of attending Austin in 2017.  The winner will be mentored by Chris and a Creative Director from the region who will accompany us to Texas.  The duo would be expected to produce live content during SXSW and a video which would form the centrepiece of a post-SXSW celebration event in late March 2017.

Our intention is to crowdfund the bursary for the apprentice via Fundsurfer.  If you are interested in sending one of your Creative Directors who would also like to mentor the apprentice, email  We will be looking for support from other partners to match fund this which could help to cover the costs of the Creative Director, but at this stage, are not able to fully commit to this.

Interested in joining the delegation?

"If the point of coming to this crazy-ass place is to pull your head out of the 'now' and start thinking about the 'next', SXSW is certainly delivering.” Kate Lenton, Taxi Studio

This will be the third trip that Bristol Media has organised so we know the ropes; we are able to purchase passes and rooms in a downtown hotel close to the Convention Centre, making the whole process quicker and easier for any members who might like to join a group rather than go it alone.  Timings are tight as registration opens the first week of August and downtown hotels sell out within a matter of days.  We have found in the past that having delegates staying in the same hotel is a real benefit, although not imperative.  The cost of the trip is in the region of £3,500 (including flight (bookable online via and currently £750 return), passes, hotels and subsistence). It’s quite a commitment in financial terms for a small agency, but Chris is steadfast in his belief that everything you learn and experience at SxSW which you can then bring back to your business, is worth every cent.

If you would like to find out more, or you are in a position to commit to a trip in 2017, we are proposing to hold an information event on Monday 18th July where we can tell you more about what is involved.  Chris will tell you more about his experiences, what he has learned and why the first trip he made to SXSW was one of the best things he’s ever done in his career.  If you would like to attend the event on Monday 18th July (probably from 6-7pm at a central Bristol location), please email asap to let us know.

If you are interested to find out more but are not able to attend on Monday, please email or who will be happy to arrange a separate meeting to talk through options with you.

You can read about what the team got up to in March this year on our SXSW blog