SXSW Sydney Round-Up

October 23, 2023

Three of our hungry Hopeful Monsters - Martina Mera, Tiffany Seeto, and Connor Sprague - graced SXSW Sydney with their presence last week. Selected for living and breathing one of our core values (infectious curiosity), they returned to Hopeful Monsters HQ this sunny Monday morning with fresh and unique perspectives for the creative world. Here are their top takeaways!

Martina Mera: Embracing the Power of Cultural Insight

“Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions about my career and the industry that I’m part of and I’m not going to lie, it has been quite overwhelming to understand the areas where I want to grow and explore. 

But as a foreigner who has been trying to adapt to the culture and industry here, I loved exploring the creative side of this country. After this 8-day experience, I have a clearer picture of where I want to go and more importantly the impact I want to make as an individual and professional. I feel inspired and hungry to keep learning and discovering!”

Key Takeaways:
  • Culture as the Foundation: SXSW highlighted the undeniable significance of cultural comprehension in shaping successful branding and societal impact.

  • Advertising for Social Change: I realised the immense potential of advertising to address critical societal issues and drive positive change, making a genuine difference in people's lives.

  • Seizing Opportunities for Transformation: Chance the Rapper's words about the power of opportunities resonated deeply with me, emphasising the importance of identifying and addressing unnoticed challenges to drive real, impactful change.

Tiffany Seeto: Making Choices to Foster Creative Change

“Surrounded by futurists, musicians, and industry giants, I found a common thread running through their stories — the power of choice. Each speaker emphasised the significance of our decisions in driving transformative change. Among all the great speakers, musicians and people I interacted with, I learnt that regardless of it being right or wrong, the choices we make are one step towards driving change in our industry, society and self.”

Key Takeaways:
  • Authenticity and Giving: Listening to Radio Host and Music Journalist, Derrick Gee's insights reinforced the value of authenticity and giving, underlining the profound impact of genuine connections and reciprocation.
  • Collective Action for a Better Future: OzHarvest Founder, Ronni Kahn's call to action resonated deeply with me, highlighting the power of collective contributions, no matter how small, in shaping a brighter future for generations to come.
  • Embracing Unfamiliarity for Growth: Trend Curator and Founder of Non-Obvious company, Rohit Bhargava's message about embracing the unfamiliar struck a chord, encouraging me to step beyond my comfort zone and embrace diverse experiences to foster personal and professional growth.

Connor Sprague: Redefining Creativity Through Diverse Voices

“Often Sydney gets labelled as a has-been creative city, losing much of its cultural relevance as other cities globally have invested heavily in the arts and creative industries. SXSW Sydney was a great showcase of the amazing minds we have across so many different mediums in this country.

It was a reminder that the best creativity and innovation has never been formulaic with so many sessions addressing different ways that we can help to move our thinking forward.”

Key Takeaways:
  • Trust the Youth: Across so many sessions we were reminded to trust young and emerging creatives over avoiding risk by sticking to legacy voices. This was seen as Chance The Rapper introduced 11-year-old Indigenous artist Inkabee to the stage at the Lord Gladstone, co-signing one of many of this country's young and exciting talents.
  • Fearlessness in Innovation: David Droga's session underscored the importance of fearlessly embracing innovation (particularly in AI) emphasising the role of creativity in pushing boundaries and redefining possibilities, rather than taking our jobs. 
  • Authentic Brand Impact: I was inspired by the discussions on the role of brands, realising the potential for brands to initiate genuine, impactful actions that transcend mere publicity, fostering real, positive change in society.

Words by Martina Mera, Tiffany Seeto and Connor Sprague.