It is fall in Boston again, and that means that HubWeek is back! Every year, this innovation festival gathers the brightest minds across the arts, science, and technology to tackle our most pressing social and cultural issues. This year, we’re grabbing our press passes and will be reporting to you from City Hall Plaza and from events around the city.
Founded by the Boston Globe, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard, and MIT, this festival is intended to be “a giant petri dish welcoming impact-oriented artists, academics, entrepreneurs, researchers, executives, makers, and up-and-comers”, which wants to “bring together the curious, those building our future.” But this is no ordinary stuffy academic conference, since many of the events are open to the public (like many of the installation events) and you can register for a pass for free.
In preparing for next week’s events, I couldn’t help but be struck by how HubWeek seems to be a crossover of Tomorrowland and the World’s Fairs I had studied in my art history classes. Tomorrowland was one of the five original parks within Disneyland and was focused around showcasing new technologies; for example, it was the site of the Monsanto House, another interesting academic and industry collaboration previously covered here. On the other hand, World’s Fairs were large international exhibitions showcasing architecture and design from many countries, and one was even the catalyst behind the design and construction of the Barcelona Pavilion.
HubWeek seems to be a marriage of the two, an educational, entertaining showcase of what Boston has to offer. Bostonians are especially proud to be a thriving academic city, leading both in healthcare and the arts. The grounds for the festival are currently being constructed and will feature an “Innovation Dome” as well as many conference halls within tents and public art exhibits.
Many of the lectures seem to be centered around solving today’s problems so that we can have a better and brighter future. In considering the future, there is a certain amount of optimism for change, which is weird to consider in this sociopolitical climate. We laugh when certain predictions about the future don’t come to pass (a la hoverboards from Back to the Future) but being forward thinking in this way also strikes me as somewhat endearing and hopeful. We can’t wait to see what this year’s program brings.
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Cover image: MGH/HubWeek