Accessibility

Updated February 18, 2022

SXSW EDU provides reasonable accommodations to make SXSW EDU events accessible for our attendees and participants. This page will be updated with additional accessibility information as it becomes available. Please check back often.

Here you will find our most commonly asked questions and answers for our IN-PERSON events. Questions and answers for our ONLINE events can be found at the bottom of the page.

Don’t see your question? Please email the Accessibility Team at access@sxsw.com for assistance. Relay service and TTY users may call the SXSW main line at 512-467-7979, Monday – Friday, 10AM to 6PM. Ask to speak to a member of the Accessibility Team.

FAQ for In-Person events:

How do I contact the SXSW EDU Access Team?

During the event, please stop by the Accessibility Desk located on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center for assistance, call a contact number that will be published here closer to the event.

How do I request accessibility accommodations?

Please click here to make ASL interpreter, session captioning, and other ADA accommodation requests. You must be a registered attendee to make these requests.

ASL Interpreter, Session Transcription & Other Accommodation Requests Deadline:

  • SXSW EDU – February 21, 2022
  • SXSW – February 25, 2022

We will do our best to honor requests after the deadline, however services cannot be guaranteed.

How do I request an Accessibility Designated SXSW EDU Badge?

An Accessibility Designated SXSW EDU Badge will provide attendees with a disability access to designated seating for sessions and film screenings, and access to the viewing platform at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake. All designated SXSW and SXSW EDU accessible seating and platforms are based on capacity and provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

To request an Accessibility Designated SXSW EDU Badge, please email reg@sxsw.com or go up to the Registration desks when you’re on site.

All registrants attending the in-person event must pick up their own credentials by showing their government-issued photo ID at Registration in the Austin Convention Center.

Is there an option for my personal attendant to accompany me to programming?

Attendees with disabilities who require the assistance of an attendant during SXSW EDU can request a Companion Wristband to accompany the Accessibility Designated SXSW EDU Badge. The Companion Wristband does not grant access to any events by itself and the wristband must match the badgeholder’s name to be valid. Please contact reg@sxsw.com for additional information on the Companion Wristband.

I am a speaker, artist, filmmaker, or other invited guest of SXSW EDU. How do I request accommodations for my event?
Please work with the SXSW EDU staff member that is programming your event. You will be provided a form to request ADA accommodations needed for your event. And if you are attending additional events outside of your session please email accessibility@sxsw.com to request other ADA accommodations.

What services are not supported by SXSW EDU?

SXSW EDU does not provide the following:

  • Devices that are personal or individually prescribed, such as wheelchairs, prescription eyeglasses, or hearing aids.
  • Services of a personal nature, such as assistance in eating, toileting or dressing, or the pushing of wheelchairs.
  • Connections to soundboards.
  • Guides and ASL Interpreters for trade shows, expos, parties, sponsor events, satellite functions, or music showcases (with the exception of the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake).
  • Guides and ASL interpreters to accompany individual registrants.

How do I request an accessible room at my SXSW EDU hotel?

To request an accessible room online with SXSW EDU Housing & Travel, choose your ideal hotel from our list of available hotel rooms and follow the steps to book. When you reach the “special request field” in step 3 of the booking process (where you’ll also enter your payment information), let us know that you require an accessible room and any other additional details about your stay. We’ll pass this information along to the hotel, so they can accommodate your request.

Where is the Accessibility Desk located? What are the hours?

The Accessibility Desk is located at the Austin Convention Center. The Accessibility Desk will be open from 9:00am to 6:30pm every day of SXSW EDU. Assistance after hours (until 12AM) is available via email and phone. Please check back here for a contact phone number closer to the event.

Can I bring my service animal to SXSW EDU? Emotional support animal?

SXSW EDU allows ADA-recognized service animals trained specifically to assist a person with disabilities at all events. Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA and are not permitted at SXSW EDU events.

I am visually impaired. How can SXSW EDU assist me with navigating the pocket guides and schedule?

Any volunteer at a SXSW EDU Information Booth, or the Accessibility Desk at the Austin Convention Center, can help read printed materials.

Does SXSW EDU provide American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters?

SXSW provides ASL Interpreters for all keynote sessions, select featured speakers, and music performances at the SXSW Outdoor Stage on Lady Bird Lake. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using this form. Additional questions regarding ASL Interpreters can be directed to accessibility@sxsw.com.

What will be closed captioned?

Closed captioning will be shown for all keynote and featured speaker sessions and all films. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using this form.

Additionally, all live film screenings will be closed captioned and will require a handheld device to view the captioning. There are a limited number of closed caption viewing devices in each theater and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please check at the venue box office to obtain the viewing devices.

Will I know if a film has strobe lighting?

Films using strobe lighting will be identified on the schedule.

What if I Need Accessible Seating?

An Accessibility Designated SXSW EDU Badge will provide attendees with a disability access to designated seating for sessions and film screenings. All designated SXSW EDU accessible seating is based on capacity and provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating for an attendee with a disability and one companion will be held until five minutes before the event starts, after which unclaimed seating will be opened to the general audience.

What mobility devices are allowed at SXSW EDU?

Wheelchairs and 3- or 4-wheel electric scooters, walkers, canes, and crutches are allowed and are reasonably accommodated. Please know that SXSW EDU does not provide push services for attendees. For safety reasons, requests to use other power-driven mobility devices will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Please email accessibility@sxsw.com. There is no equipment rental of any kind offered by SXSW EDU. Please make your own mobility accommodations, if required.

Where can I find information on medical and mobility device rental/repair?

Email accessibility@sxsw.com and we will help provide options within the Greater Austin Area. While visiting SXSW EDU, please feel free to call or visit the Accessibility Desk on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center for a list of local vendors that can assist with rentals or repairs. It is advised to make rental arrangements in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of equipment.

Where can I charge my medical or mobility device during the event?

Charging outlets will be available at the Accessibility Desk located on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center. Charging is on a first-come, first-served basis and devices must be secured with a lock or other means of securing the device. SXSW EDU cannot be responsible for unattended devices left charging.

What should I know about accessibility at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake?

Attendees staying through the week following SXSW EDU may want to attend some of the SXSW free events offered. SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake is a large outdoor venue with natural terrain. Attendance may require covering large distances over grassy, uneven, and sometimes muddy ground.

The accessible viewing platform is on the eastern side of the venue. The accessible viewing platform is available to patrons with disabilities, plus one adult companion and/or minor children, as applicable. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The musical performances at the SXSW Outdoor Stage at Lady Bird Lake will be interpreted, featuring professional and certified ASL interpreters.

Accessible portable toilet facilities are provided at all outdoor SXSW produced events where there are portable toilets.

Information is available on directional signs, or from any volunteer.

Accessible Parking

If you have a government issued disabled hang tag or license plate, you don’t have to pay the parking meters. Private parking lots and garages may have different rules and regulations.

How accessible is Austin?

Austin, in general, is accessible. Be aware that there are some places throughout the City that are historic, or dated and could pose challenges for some with a disability. Please reach out to accessibility@sxsw.com for questions about specific establishments or areas.

What is transportation like for those with accessibility needs?

Transportation can be a challenge for everyone attending SXSW EDU. Our advice to attendees is to utilize public transportation, rideshare, or taxi service when available. All public transportation methods have an accessible option. More information about their accessibility services during SXSW EDU will be available closer to the event.

If I need to get dropped off or picked up, is there a safe place for me to do this close to the Austin Convention Center?

The ADA drop off area is on the 400 block of Neches between Brush Square Park and the main Hilton Hotel entrance.

Will there be a sensory / quiet room at SXSW?

Yes. The sensory room will be located in Hilton Room 614. The hours are 9:30am to 6:30pm.

FAQ for Online events:

Most programming at SXSW EDU Online 2022 will feature closed captioning, and some will have ASL interpretation. For questions about ADA accessibility accommodations email accessibility@sxsw.com.

Below you will find our most commonly asked questions and answers for our ONLINE events.

How do I contact the SXSW Accessibility Team?

  • Email: accessibility@sxsw.com
  • Phone: 512-467-7979 (leave a message in the general mailbox. Relay services and TTY users should also use this number.)

How do I request accessibility accommodations?

Please click here to make ASL interpreter, session captioning, and other ADA accommodation requests. You must be a registered attendee to make these requests.

ASL Interpreter, Session Transcription & Other Accommodations Request Deadlines:

  • SXSW EDU – February 21, 2022
  • SXSW – February 25, 2022

I am a speaker, artist, filmmaker, or other invited guest of SXSW EDU. How do I request accommodations for my event?

Please work with the SXSW EDU staff member that is programming your event. You will be provided a form to request specific accommodations needed for your event. And if you are attending additional events outside of your session, showcase, or film, please email accessibility@sxsw.com to request other ADA accommodations.

What services are not supported by SXSW EDU?

We are unable to troubleshoot any issues you may have with your personal electronic equipment, including any devices or software utilized for accessibility purposes.

Does SXSW EDU provide American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters?

SXSW EDU provides ASL Interpreters for all keynote sessions, select featured speakers, and music performances at the SXSW Outdoor Stage on Lady Bird Lake. Additional sessions may be requested and scheduled by using this form. Additional questions regarding ASL Interpreters can be directed to accessibility@sxsw.com.

Does SXSW EDU provide session transcription for registrants?

Yes. Transcripts will be available for online content. Please make those requests here.

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