SSummer is upon us, promising days by the pool, outdoor get-togethers, beach vacations and backyard barbecues. Intellectual stimulation? Don’t say no right away. Summer in the United States is prime time for academics, business owners, scientists, and creatives to come together and brainstorm big ideas, and we’re invited to join them. Consider heading to one of these idea festivals in June (your noggin will thank you).
Aspen Festival of Ideas
When: From June 22 to 25, 2022 (“Health” segment), from June 25 to 28 (Festival 1), from June 28 to July 1 (Festival 2)
Where: Aspen, Colorado
Cost: $2,200 to $5,000 for a festival segment pass
In 2005, the Aspen Institute, an educational nonprofit, brought together leaders such as Jane Goodall, Toni Morrison, and Jim Lehrer to discuss issues and ideas relevant to society at the time. More than 15 years later, the Aspen Festival of Ideas has become a staple for intellectuals around the world, with US presidents, tech billionaires and high-profile journalists gathering in Aspen, Colorado to take part. This year’s speakers include Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Read Lolita in Tehran author Azar Nafisi, who has also published a new book, and Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, whose ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ course has become the university’s most popular course in more than 300 years of history. Attendees can enjoy panel discussions, one-on-one talks, and educational seminars throughout their stay in the Colorado Rockies.
The essential : The festival is divided into three segments, each selling its own individual pass. The health segment, which focuses on topics related to health, medicine and science, kicks off the festival on June 22 and concludes with a general interest segment on July 1. But don’t expect to be there all the time: you can buy a ticket for the health festival no matter what, but the institute limits registrants to choose between Festival 1 or Festival 2, unless you have a Patron Pass.
Asheville Ideas Festival
When: June 14-18, 2022
Where: Asheville, North Carolina
Cost: $1,500 to $2,000
Asheville has developed a reputation as a creative center in the southern United States, making it a no-brainer for the city to have its own thought-leader festival. Hosted by the University of North Carolina at Asheville, the Asheville Ideas Festival is inspired by the Aspen Ideas Festival and focuses on important issues and current events affecting the world. Speakers for this inaugural iteration include Fareed Zakaria, host of Fareed Zakaria GPS for CNN Worldwide, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham, whose book American Lion: Andrew Jackson at the White House revealed the story of a US president who changed the US presidency, and Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, who led the National Institutes of Health team that developed the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Get ready to explore places like the Biltmore Estate, Grove Park Innand the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts as you browse the lineup of festival events. But if your brain needs to recharge with some peace and quiet, take advantage of Asheville’s Appalachian location and explore the Blue Ridge Mountainswhich are only a short drive from the city.
Embrace the festival of ideas
When: June 13 to 17, 2022
Where: Boston, MA
Cost: Free – $25 for a day, $75 for the week
Spend a week northeast of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Harvard Medical School, and around other Boston landmarks for the grand opening Embrace the festival of ideas this month of June. Hosted by King BostonA program of the nonprofit Boston Foundation, this week-long gathering brings together leaders to amplify anti-racism and a vision for a transformed Boston by 2030.
Don’t worry if you’re an out-of-towner. Attendees across the country can learn from sessions that address topics such as the power of monuments, equity within a community, and overturning the zero-sum mentality of race and racism. The festival highlights community figures such as former Boston mayor Kim Janey, Massachusetts College of Art and Design president Mary Grant, and Jon Abbott, president and CEO of media organization GBH, to deliver keynote speeches and participate in panels. If you want to connect with a speaker or attendee, one of the benefits of this five-day event is its daily “unconference” time, which dedicates time for attendees to meet and network across boundaries. a rigid programming schedule.
Throughout the week, musical performances from local artists like the Greg Groover Jr. Jazz Quartet and Amandi Music will keep the festival in high spirits and give you a much-needed brain break. These afternoon and evening performances close each day, culminating in a free Juneteenth Block Party to mark the end of the festivities.
>> Next: The miracle of strange encounters while traveling
The products we write about are independently reviewed and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you purchase through our links, which helps support our independent publishing.