September 30, 2019
The Boston Globe
HubWeek showcase comes to life in the Seaport
The situation is dire: A top-secret underwater research facility in Monterey Bay has been compromised by seismic activity, forcing an evacuation. Inside the submerged lab are organisms, isolated by scientists, that can cure 80 percent of cancer cases. So an elite team of rescuers must don scuba gear, access the lab through an airlock, and bring the specimens back before the facility’s oxygen runs out.
A premise for a Hollywood blockbuster? A new live-action video game? No, it’s an immersive escape room, set up inside a shipping container in the Seaport District — one of many experiential opportunities planned for this year’s HubWeek, Boston’s festival of ideas. The temporary village of tents and shipping containers comes to life in the Seaport on Tuesday, as the three-day showcase of culture and innovation takes hold in a new neighborhood.
The festival is expected to draw up to 8,000 visitors with a mix of paid and free events, based near the intersection of Seaport Boulevard and Fan Pier Boulevard. Attendees will be able to experience the refugee crisis through an art installation, test drive Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell cars in Seaport traffic, and take part a “transformative workout of the body and mind” with The Class, a much-hyped fitness experience that’s premiering for the first time in the city.
HubWeek will also feature musical performances, digital art experiences, and dozens of speakers. Events will take place in the tents and plaza on the main festival grounds, situated on an old parking lot in the Seaport, and in nearby venues in District Hall and the The Grand nightclub.
Now in its fifth year, HubWeek was founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT. Bringing the event to the Seaport after spending the last two years on City Hall Plaza made sense, said HubWeek executive director Brendan Ryan, as both the neighborhood and the event series center around innovation. And he said he hopes the festival’s goals of inclusivity will draw guests into the Seaport — which can often feel intimidating and difficult to access — and make it feel like their own.
“We want people to use HubWeek as an opportunity and an excuse to be welcome here, and claim their space here,” he said. “You have to be purposeful to be welcoming, and that’s part of our HubWeek mission.”
Yanni Tsipis, a senior vice president of WS Development, which provided the space where HubWeek’s events will take place this week, said the company was delighted to play host.
“We see HubWeek as a powerful microcosm of the thought leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit that is so pervasive here in the Seaport,” he said. “Just as the Seaport has grown to become a national hub of talent in the tech and life sciences sectors, HubWeek has quickly emerged as a new nexus of the innovation ecosystem nationally.”
By: Janelle Nanos and Andy Rosen