Conferences aren’t what they used to be. What were once boring, buttoned-up affairs have morphed into immersive events designed to spark curiosity, spur networking, and encourage a renewed sense of professional purpose. New Orleans is a premier destination for conferences, with several happening in the next few months. Tech, design, film — they’re all covered in these upcoming conferences, organized by date below.
When: Oct. 3
What: Formerly known as Pursuit Creative Conference, VenturePOP! is a brand new, one-day conference created by three self-made entrepreneurs (including Justin Shiels). Full of experienced speakers and panelists aimed at the creative professional, this newer addition to the conference set encourages participants to collaborate on projects and inspire a new perspective on business growth.
Price: Conference and After Party, $159; After Party only, $49; tickets online
When: Oct. 5 – 10
Where: New Orleans Jazz Market and across New Orleans
What: NOLA Tech Week is the largest free technology conference in the south. Whether you’re looking to experience emerging trends in tech, are on the hunt for a job in the field, or just want to have a little fun with other tech enthusiasts, they’ve got you covered. Events include everything from pitch competitions to keynotes and hackathons.
Price: From free to VIP ($195)
Pro tip: Battery running low? Fuel up at the newly opened Primitivo or Cafe Reconcile, both located on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.
When: Oct. 8 – 10
Where: Hyatt Regency New Orleans
What: Founded in 1914, The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) has chosen New Orleans as its destination for the next AIGA Design Conference. Experience provocative speakers, local culture, nightly networking receptions, competitions, exhibitions, professional development sessions and face-to-face roundtables with your design heroes. The conference also includes a volunteer day with Playbuild centered around a design-learning challenge with students to create a neighborhood play space.
Price: Starting at $345; deadline for registration is Oct. 1
Pro tip: Keep creative juices flowing with a visit to cosmically inspired Ursa Major. Its celestial designs (and tempting menu) will have your head in the clouds.
When: Oct. 14 – 22
Where: Venues across New Orleans
What: Cinephiles, this one’s for you: New Orleans Film Fest. Now in its 26th year, the festival has seen continuous expansion that now includes more than 200 film screenings, including the Chet Baker biopic “Born to Be Blue,” Louisiana-shot Hank Williams biopic “I Saw the Light,” and the film adaptation of heartrending bestseller “Room.” Parties, mentorship programs, and a pitch competition that gives local filmmakers the opportunity to have their project developed are also part of the weeklong festival.
Price: Ranges from $45/55 for a basic, six-film package to about $270 for an all-access pass
When: Oct. 19 – 24
Where: Venues across New Orleans
What: Organized by the New Orleans-based Southern Coalition of Fashion & Design, the Spring/Summer 2016 season of this fashion-filled week includes runway events showcasing local designers, pop-up markets, networking parties, and educational presentations for those wanting to break into the industry.
Price: Presale pass at only $50