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Inaugural HUBweek festival exceeds expectations, organizers say

The inaugural HUBweek ideas festival drew more than 46,000 attendees to talks on philosophy and innovation, laboratory demonstrations, artistic performances, and other events earlier this month, slightly surpassing the attendance goal of organizers, who are already planning a sequel for next year, according to HUBweek representatives.

Organizers plan to deliver “an even more valuable and engaging HUBweek in 2016,” said Linda Pizzuti Henry, HUBweek chairwoman and Boston Globe managing director, in a statement. “The goal is to continue to invite people into the world-changing work happening here in the Greater Boston region.”

HUBweek, held Oct. 3-10 in and around the city, was billed by organizers as a “weeklong celebration of innovation and creativity in Boston.”


It presented 600 speakers and artists at 106 events in Boston, Somerville, and Cambridge, including the GlobeDocs Film Festival; an open lab event at Kendall Square; and a philosophical discussion about technology and citizenship at Faneuil Hall, led by Michael J. Sandel, a Harvard University professor and a philosopher who lectures around the world.

HUBweek recorded 6,000 attendees in its opening weekend, Oct. 3-4; about 18,000 for its weekday events; and 22,000 on the closing weekend, including more than 20,000 for the ILLUMINUS art event on Lansdowne Street, according to HUBweek.

Organizers had said before the event that they hoped to draw about 40,000 attendees.

The festival was founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Boston Globe.

Organizers plan to announce dates soon for 2016, said HUBweek spokeswoman Liz Paquette, in an e-mail exchange Monday with the Globe.

“We’re still in the very early stages of post-event analysis and are learning more each day in terms of what we can do to improve the HUBweek experience next year,” Paquette said. “Our main goal this past year was to make HUBweek happen, to make it a reality. This [coming] year, you’ll see much more of a focus on the experience, optimizing what we’re offering and helping folks better navigate how best to participate.”


Though organizers thought the attendance figures for the initial HUBweek were “impressive,” one goal for next year is to attract more people, she said.

“The vision is for this to serve as a platform to convene not only the brightest minds across the world, but also anyone with the curiosity,” she said. “It will be our job to make sure more people are aware and able to participate next year. You can expect to see a HUBweek that feels very similar next year, but is definitely a 2.0.”

Mark Arsenault can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark