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SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST® staff up for SXSW London edition.

Today South by Southwest® (SXSW®) London announced the hiring of Elliot Willis, Adem Holness and Katy Arnander to its growing, full-time executive team. Also joining SXSW London is Alex Poots, who will serve as a Creative Advisor whilst continuing his work full-time at The Shed in New York.

Photo Aaron Rogosin for SXSW

A global platform to celebrate the convergence of creativity, culture and innovation, SXSW’s inaugural European edition SXSW London will build on the brand’s decades of success in Austin and now Sydney. Over the course of a week in June 2025, SXSW London will take over dozens of venues, galleries, clubs and spaces around Shoreditch in east London. In addition to the inspiring keynotes, music showcases, and innovations in tech, gaming and screen that fans have come to expect from SXSW, SXSW London will introduce new visual arts, design and fashion programming. SXSW London will also feature a particular focus on creative sectors and talent from across Europe.

Katy Arnander has been appointed Director of Programming bringing her broad international business perspective and insight. Arnander has previously worked at some of the UK’s leading performance organisations including Ambassadors Theatre Group (ATG), Sadler’s Wells, Southbank Centre and Barbican, focusing on arts programming, show production, commissioning, curation, and audiences.

Adem Holness joins SXSW London as Head of Music following a successful tenure at Europe’s largest arts venue and top five London attraction, the Southbank Centre. During his role as Head of Contemporary Music, he curated and oversaw the delivery of 150+ music events including the iconic Meltdown Festival, Stormzy’s Live from Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Honey Dijon’s Honey Verse. In his new role, Adem will lead the music programming team and oversee music partnerships and curation of events within the music industry.

On the commercial side, Elliot Willis joins SXSW London team as the European Commercial Director with a background in forging strong relationships with brands and major media agencies in the UK. Elliot is famed for brokering the deal with Aviva Studios in Manchester for £35.2m amongst other commercial successes and in his new role will be responsible for driving the sponsorship, partnership, sales and commercial operation of the festival in London.

Arts and cultural leader Alex Poots has been named as Creative Advisor. Alex’s career in the arts includes his current position as the Founding Artistic Director of The Shed in New York City, where he continues his full-time role while providing support to SXSW London. Alex was also the founding Artistic Director & Chief Executive of the Manchester International Festival (2005-2015) and the Artistic Director of the Park Avenue Armory (2011-2015).

As MD of SXSW London, Randel Bryan is building a team to help extend the global reach of SXSW, secure collaborations and partnerships amongst creatives and brands, and enable more companies to be able to experience the pioneering event, which celebrates and showcases the convergence of creativity and tech.

MORE: SXSWlondon.com


SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of tech, film and television, music, education, and culture. An essential destination for global professionals, the annual March event features sessions, music, and comedy showcases, film and television screenings, exhibitions, professional development, and a variety of opportunities to meet and connect with people. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and individuals come together. SXSW 2025 will take place March 7-15 in Austin.

SXSW’s expansion into the Asia Pacific region, with SXSW Sydney starting in 2023 and Europe with SXSW London in 2025, provides new possibilities at this iconic experience. These events, each with their own distinct flavour, make South By an indispensable three-stop tour for the global creative community.



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