Seminar and workshop enrollment is open only to SAA members who are college and university faculty, independent postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students at the dissertation stage. (Each student’s standing must be verified by his or her thesis supervisor.)
Seminars convene in October each year, at the conclusion of an enrollment process that begins every June. All enrollees are required to submit four choices from the year’s program. Spaces are filled on a first-received, first-enrolled basis, as first-choice placements cannot be guaranteed. Enrollment is delayed for those making fewer choices than four. A member who revises his choices loses his initial place in the enrollment queue, the date and time of revision serving as the date and time of enrollment. It is not possible to enroll in more than one seminar or workshop, and those appearing in panel sessions are also ineligible to enroll in seminars and workshops. The closing deadline for seminar and workshop enrollment is 15 September.
Enrollments are announced by 1 October. By the end of October, enrolled seminar and workshop participants will receive directions and deadlines from the seminar and workshop leaders. Accepting a place in a seminar or workshop, each SAA member agrees to produce original work, to engage directly with the topic and scholarly objectives announced by the seminar or workshop leader, to observe the leader’s directions and deadlines, and to attend the seminar or workshop meeting at the annual conference. Assigned work may involve research papers, common readings, performance exercises, digital projects, and other academic undertakings.
Seminar and workshop leaders set deadlines for assigned work to be circulated to other group members about a month before the conference. This is to allow sufficient time for seminar and workshop members to read or in other assigned ways work with shared materials. When the seminar or workshop gathers at the conference, there should be no need for papers to be read aloud or summarized in detail. Seminar and workshop leaders are asked to confirm advance participation to the SAA office. As stipulated by the Board of Trustees, only those who have completed advance work are eligible to be listed in the conference program.
At the conference, all seminars and most workshops are open to auditors. Those taking part in one seminar are welcome to sit in on others, as the schedule allows. Seminar leaders provide hard copies of paper abstracts so that the discussion is easier to follow. M.A. students and those who are new to the SAA often attend their first Annual Meeting as auditors. No one needs reserve a place as an auditor, but all auditors must have registered to attend the conference. Attendance and auditing privileges are not extended to undergraduate students.
SAA seminars and workshops promote Shakespeare scholarship and pedagogy. They have proved to be powerfully effective forums in which to develop material for scholarly publication, offering opportunities to try out ideas and receive useful responses. Many seminar papers subsequently appear in print, and seminar groups have often produced volumes of collected essays.