Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer for South by Southwest (SXSW). Scheduled March 8-17, 2019 in Austin, this event brings together more than 70,000 industry creatives from across the United States and around the world. These creatives are inspired by nine days of panels, presentations, brainstorming, networking, deal-making, socializing, creating, innovating, and fun.
Forrest was named “Austinite of the Year” in 2012 by the Austin Chamber of Commerce (along with fellow SXSW Directors Roland Swenson, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro). In 2014, Forrest and these other SXSW Directors were named Austin Entrepreneurs of the Year by Ernst & Young. He recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Kenyon College, his alma matter.
In addition to his work at SXSW, he has previously served on of the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is currently part of the Board of Directors for Austin Habitat for Humanity and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Austin-based accessibility company Knowbility. Additionally, he is a trustee for the Austin Awesome Foundation.
Before joining the SXSW team in the dark ages of 1989, he founded a small monthly alternative publication called The Austin Challenger. He also wrote for several other newspapers and publications, including the Austin Chronicle, the Texas Sports Chronicle, the West Austin News, Willamette Week and the Seattle Weekly.