Empowering the Next Generation of ‘Education Abolitionists’: The Importance of SXSW EDU

By Autumn Robinson, Manager of Operations and Sales Analytics

Some may wonder why an EDU Conference proceeds the ever-growing SXSW festival in Austin, TX. 

Attend just one session on liberated socio-emotional teaching practices or cultivating growth mindsets at the SXSW EDU Conference and Festival, and you’ll understand why.

The work of educators, policymakers and community leaders builds the foundation for our future artists, musicians, and filmmakers. They create psychologically safe learning environments that cultivate mindsets of growth and empower students to dream big.

The Meghan Markles and Dev Patels of the world, whose talks draw huge crowds each year at SXSW, have enthralling life stories built upon the passion and dedication of our educators. 

When we gather to explore the art, film, and music that makes our world brighter, we must also remember that our future artists are experiencing environments plagued by socially-constructed barriers. Students are navigating agendas that stifle their emotional growth, diminish their learning opportunities, and fail to celebrate their unique identities. Whether it is anti-CRT politics or nation-sweeping book bans, the future of art is under attack. 

Autumn with EOS Partnership Director Erika Cabrera.

There is one thing that is clear to me after this week – educators are modern-day abolitionists. Not only are they doing the work of liberation from the ground up, they’re also eager to collaborate to do that work better. They are passionately aware of the importance of the investments we make in our students and are fervent about building an education system that supports every student’s path to success. 

It was such an honor to spend the week in rooms and sessions with people who share EOS’ mission of taking a stand to build a better future for our students. We understand the importance of the impact we are seeking to make, and opportunities like SXSW EDU remind me that we do not do that work alone. 

I was moved by the passionate educators, artists, policymakers and entrepreneurs I heard from this week. Here are just a few of my favorite sessions, led by leaders that I highly recommend you check out: