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Everything you need to know about HUBweek 2018

HUBweek 2018 on Boston City Hall Plaza begins Monday.HUBweek

What do activist David Hogg, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito have in common? They’re all among the presenters scheduled to appear at HUBweek 2018.

Now in its fourth year, HUBweek is a “festival for the future” founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT. Each year, the festival brings together hundreds of events, installations, and conversations on art, science, health, and technology. This year, you’ll be able to check out a series of documentaries curated by the Globe, a “drone zoo” in the Seaport, and many other offerings.


Here’s everything you need to know about HUBweek 2018.

When does HUBweek start?

The festival kicks off Monday, Oct. 8, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 14. The first two days of the festival will focus on two main events. The first is the inaugural Change Maker Conference, which features an array of speakers and activities focused on community building and problem solving. The second is Open Doors, a series of behind-the-scenes experiences from some of the more creative organizations in the area.

Events later in the week will include the GlobeDocs Film Festival and a series of exhibits and installations open to the public at the HUB, the festival’s main attraction at City Hall Plaza.

Where is HUBweek happening?

Much of the action will take place at City Hall Plaza, which will be transformed into the HUB of innovation. Other events will take in Boston and Cambridge, from MIT to the Seaport. The easiest way to keep track of all the times, dates, and locations of events is to visit the festival website at or to download the official HUBweek 2018 app.


Who are the biggest names at HUBweek 2018?

David Hogg, a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and a cofounder of March for Our Lives, will be part of a forum in Faneuil Hall on “the successes and challenges of the nationwide student-led movement to end gun violence” alongside MGH physician activist Chana Sacks and a Boston Public Schools student.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd will discuss the future of cities, health, and medicine as part of the HUBweek Forums.

Other scheduled forum speakers include MIT Media Lab director Joichi Ito, Amazon Robotics chief technologist Tye Brady, Harvard Business Review editor Adi Ignatius, Tulane professor and author Walter Isaacson, MIT associate professor Neri Oxman, and author and singer-songwriter Ruth Pointer of the Pointer Sisters.

Who will be participating in some of the talks?

Aside from the Hogg and Dowd talks, many other thought-provoking discussions will happen at the festival. Monday’s slate of speakers at the Change Maker Conference begins with a keynote from Ito about the practice of change and closes with a talk from UN High-Level Commissioner Dr. Alaa Murabit on inclusivity.

On Wednesday, Pointer will discuss how music contributes to well-being with Panos Panay, the vice president of innovation and strategy at Berklee College of Music.

Also at HUBweek: SoulCycle founder and WeWork partner Julie Rice will discuss innovation and the importance of community; author and professor Walter Isaacson will look at the history of innovation; and iRobot chief executive Colin Angle will speak about future collaborations between bots and humans.


What are some of the exhibits and installations?

A so-called drone zoo will take up residence in the Seaport on Monday and Tuesday. Local organization swissnex Boston has partnered with Swiss Touch and will set up a “flying cage” at District Hall, allowing visitors to experience live drone demos and discuss what a drone-filled future may look like.

On Tuesday, you can visit the “innovation playground” in Kendall Square, an interactive celebration of community, arts, and technology where you can immerse yourself in a life-size coloring book, create visual effects using augmented reality, or drop a beat on turntables.

Speaking of music, the Change Maker Closing Party on Tuesday will feature a silent disco, including music from DJ Tao, DJ BHanna, and DJ Glow Worm.

Are any events free and open to the public?

Yes. More than 100 of them, to be precise. Registration is free on the HUBweek website, allowing people to sign up for more than 100 events, including those that are part of the Open Doors, Demo Day, and Future Innovators lineups. You can also enter the HUB at City Hall, attend networking meet-ups, go to the nightly parties at the HUB, and more.

How much do tickets cost, and where can I get them?

Tickets are available on the HUBweek website at varying price levels depending on the events you want to attend. Single-day passes start at $150, while multiday tickets at the Concierge level (which permits you perks like a VIP networking event with HUBweek’s founders) are $600.


If you’re thinking of going, don’t wait too much longer. Ticket prices increase on Oct. 8.

Kevin Slane can be reached at