March 8–12: HBCU Battle of the Brains
Designed to help promote the talented business and STEM students within the African American community, the 2018 HBCU Battle of the Brains competition brings teams of students from historically black colleges and universities to Austin from around the country to determine which school will be crowned as the HBCU Battle of the Brains Champion.
Teams for this competition will be comprised of 3–5 undergraduate and/or graduate school students, as well as up to two designated researchers (optional). Those teams will pitch live in front of an audience and crowd participation will constitute one of the five final votes. One team will be crowned the BOTB champion. Teams will be encouraged to incorporate technology, design, policy, business and STEM components into their business solutions. Click here to learn more about this exciting competition.
The final winner of the HBCU Battle of the Brains competition will be determined on Saturday evening, March 10 at the JW Marriott. Other HBCU-centric programming at the JW Marriott during SXSW includes A Different World: Breaking Racial Barriers In TV (March 10), Building Safe Workspaces for Millennials of Color (March 10), Hacking the Racial Bias in Artificial Intelligence (March 10), HBCU Meet Up (March 11) How Diversity is Pushing Augmented Reality Innovation (March 11), Pitch Black 2018: The Future is Female (March 11), Solutions for Hiring Top Minority Tech Talent (March 10), and Trap Goes Tech: A Case Study (March 10). You must have a SXSW badge to attend these panels and presentations at the JW Marriott. If you are still in school, remember that we have special student rates for the 2018 event — hurry, these rates increase on March 1.
This HBCU programming underscores a strong focus on diversity at SXSW 2018. Empowerment, inclusion and activism in business and the arts is listed as one of the top 12 trends to watch for at this year’s event. While a significant portion of this content occurs within the Social Impact track, other diversity-related sessions occur throughout the 2018 schedule.
Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.