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Everything you need to know about HUBweek 2017

Rendering of HUBweek installation at City Hall. The HUB is being designed and developed in collaboration with award-winning design firm, CBT, and will feature dozens of shipping containers, art installations, and geodesic domes.
Rendering of HUBweek installation at City Hall. The HUB is being designed and developed in collaboration with award-winning design firm, CBT, and will feature dozens of shipping containers, art installations, and geodesic domes.CBT/HUBweek/Hub Week

The HUBweek Festival, which convenes big thinkers, tech giants, a documentary film festival, and cool art events, kicks off its third year on Tuesday, Oct. 10, with a long list of events highlighting innovation and creativity in the heart of the city.

The nearly weeklong fest — founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — offers hundreds of mind-expanding events, on everything from artificial intelligence and robotics, to hackathons and something called “cosmic meditation,” many of them free.

Let’s just say there’s a lot to see and do at the festival, which runs through Oct. 15. Here are some key things to know if you plan to go.


What makes this year different

This will be the first year that the HUBweek festival will be centered in a temporary exhibition space located on Boston’s City Hall Plaza. The first two days of events will still take place across a number of different venues around the city, but during the rest of the week the bulk of events will be concentrated at the exhibition space dubbed The HUB.

The space will contain dozens of shipping containers, 3-D printed installations, and six geodesic domes, which will host keynote talks, video projections, and live art performances. The shipping containers will hold art and scientific installations.

Getting there

If you’re planning to take in HUBweek activities, public transportation will be the way to go, especially if you’re headed to the geodesic domes at City Hall Plaza. For those, take the MBTA’s Green or Blue line to Government Center. If you’re coming from Cambridge or south of the city, take the Red line to the Park Street stop. It’s only a five to 10 minute walk to The HUB at City Hall Plaza. Taking the Orange line to State Street or Haymarket station is another convenient option.


There are, of course, plenty of other ways to get to your favorite HUBWeek events: ridesharing, bus, commuter rail, and more. And then there’s always driving in. The Government Center area boasts plenty of underground parking, but it’s not cheap. And wouldn’t you rather skip the traffic and take public transportation? We thought so.

Speakers to look out for

From Oct. 12-14, the Future Forum series will convene industry leaders to discuss their fields and the big ideas coming out of Boston and elsewhere today.

One of this year’s big-name events will be “Future Forum: Saving As Many Lives As Penicillin.” Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell will interview fellow New Yorker writer Atul Gawande, and they’ll discuss innovations in how medical care can be delivered. Gawande is a surgeon, author, and researcher who practices at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is also a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. The interview will take place at Faneuil Hall on Oct. 13 from 5-7 p.m.

Another Future Forum event on Oct. 13, called “Inventing the Future,” will include conversations with: CEO and Founder of iRobot Colin Angle; Harvard Medical School genetics professor George Church; and Karl Iagnemma, chief executive of nuTonomy, the company engineering the autonomous vehicles that may soon be hitting the road in Boston; Fidelity Investments Chairman and CEO Abby Johnson; Radio Boston host Meghna Chakrabarti; and others.

On Oct. 14, “Change Starts With You” will feature best-selling author Amy Cuddy; President of Island Creek Oysters Chris Sherman; Holly Yanco, director of the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) center; and many others speakers.


To learn more about the Future Forum series, day passes and pricing, go to hubweek.org.


Some events are ticketed at HUBweek 2017, but many others are free. An array of fascinating events around Boston, including talks, yoga sessions, even a tour of Bully Boy Distillery, are free, though many require registration in advance on the hubweek.org website.

Here’s what you’ll be able to do with the free HUB Pass:

Explore exhibits at The HUB with limited access to the Red and swissnex Domes on City Hall Plaza.

Access more than 30 events at The Hub. (Some individual events are ticketed with prices ranging from $10 to $75, but the majority are free.) These events do require individual registration.

Walk around the Demo Day Showcase Floor on Oct. 14 where dozens of startups will be showcasing their companies and ideas for a chance to win over $50,000 of cash and prizes.

Check out Immersion, three-nights of live art performances at The HUB, from Oct. 12-14. (Certain Immersion events will require individual registration or passes. Check hubweek.org for details.)

Experience the Robot Block Party on Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will be able to interact with more than 20 robots around The HUB, not to mention see several autonomous vehicles.

Here’s what you’ll get if you spend $25 on the HUBweek Party Pass:


A four-day HUB Pass including one-night entry to the Green and Blue Domes (nighttime only).

Access to bars at The HUB and the Immersion Lounge for those who are over 21 along with live entertainment that is only available in the domes at night. That includes DJs, VJs, and several “signature” performances. (The bars and Lounge are 21+, but the rest of the experience is for all ages.)

And if you’re willing to spend $100, here are the perks that go along with an Insider Day Pass:

A four-day HUB Pass along with a one-day pass with unlimited access to the Green and Blue domes

A one-day pass to HUBWeek’s Ideas Festival, Future Forum, including over 40 individual events

Access to the daily keynotes.

A one-night pass to Future Fete, a cocktail hour immediately following Future Forum. Those with the Insider Day Pass will also have a one-night pass to the nightly HUBweek party, which starts right after Future Fete.

Student and nonprofit pricing:

With a valid student ID, high school, undergraduate, and graduate students will be able to pick up a select number of Insider Day passes for $50 apiece. Special rates may also available for those who work for nonprofits or startups.

For more information about tickets, go to https://hubweek.swoogo.com/tickets.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.