The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s annual Design, Art and Technology Awards (DATAs) are gunning for national recognition this year. Let the public voting begin.

This year PTC is shifting gears with a two-day event open to techies and artists from not only across the country but also around the world. The weekend promises workshops, international speakers and networking opportunities for artists, entrepreneurs, geeks, investors, makers, students and leaders of innovation.

While many of the entrants this year are local, one-third are coming in from elsewhere: San Francisco, New York City, Austin, Seattle and as far away as Australia, the United Kingdom and Lithuania.

“These are all people working on the leading edge of creative technologies,” says Kim Chestney Harvey of PTC. “It’s all about sharing ideas and interactivity within the region and beyond.”

While the idea grew out of synergy around SXSW, the DATAs are not seeking to emulate it in any way, she adds. “It’s more about getting back to that intimate experience of talking to one another in a close environment.”

Keynote speakers will be Willo O’Brien, entrepreneur and co-founder of the YXYY unconference in San Francisco who is all about empowering entrepreneurs to stay true to their creative passion, and Penelope Trunk, international career guru, entrepreneur and blogger.

More than 75 finalists are nominated in eight categories: Design+Making, Entertainment+Games, Communications, Art+Technology, Software+Apps, Education, Community and Student.

The public is invited to vote in the People’s Competition, which will be awarded to the top vote-getter in each category.

The entrant with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award. The DATA will be awarded in each category, a weighted competition based on both online voting and votes from an advisory panel.

The Data Awards, Interactive Exhibit and Creative Technologies Summit will be May 8+9  at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.