Monday, April 1, 2013

SAA: collecting my thoughts

CN Tower
I spent the last several days in Toronto, at the annual meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America. I cannot emphasize enough how much I have enjoyed attending this conference: I began going in 2005 and I've found something incredibly refreshing and renewing about attending every year. I've attended a number of other conferences, but the way that this conference is set up encourages intellectual experimentation.  The seminar sessions -- where most of the papers are presented -- are clearly places for working papers.  The other sessions -- the panels with completed papers -- are always fascinating.

Looking out from the boardwalk
This conference, I participated in a workshop -- entitled "Shakespearean Dance: A Practical Introduction" -- and this was a departure from anything I'd done previously.  We prepared for the workshop with a great deal of reading and discussion via an email list.  And then we met in Toronto and danced.  Or at least tried to.

While the dances we learned we fairly basic (a good choice, as a number of us have pretty minimal levels of coordination, myself included), the experience of actually participating in these dances establishes a more visceral, material experience of the practice for me.  (I'm going to try to sort out my thoughts more clearly on this later. I've got lots to think about and organize, intellectually.)

St. James's Cathedral Church
But the opportunity to audit other seminars is always useful as well -- where we can listen in on other people's conversations.  I get worn out on auditing, and only sit in on 2 or 3 sessions each year, but I certainly learn a lot when I do.

And this year, there was the joy of seeing people that I know: I met up with a number of people I've known almost exclusively through social media; I saw friends that I see every year; and I spoke with completely random strangers, both at the conference and serving beers in the bars around town (uh ... we do that a lot).  My husband was able to join me, and he partook in a great deal of the socializing and tourist-ing.  We also got to spend some time with one of the editors of a major textbook publisher, who is looking over a proposal of mine right now.

Poutine (with bacon)
All in all, a successful conference.  We looked at things. We tried new drinks. We ate some really alarming local delicacies.

Hey look! They have Canadian flags here

Towards the St. Lawrence Market

As I think more about this, I'll try to post more thoroughly, either here or at LitBits.  I've also got some pictures put into the queue on my new photo tumblr.

1 comment:

Carl Isaacson said...

You're right, what we know by dancing is much more viseral and much less likely to be articulate knowledge than what we have come to know through words. Of course that upsets some people for whom what we know must always be operationalized.