Dear SAA Colleagues and Friends,
The last two years have been unspeakably challenging for our community. The full effects of the pandemic and the impact it has had on our teaching, scholarship, mentorship, collaboration and ability to gather are yet to be realised. I am so grateful to the SAA staff and fellow Trustees for their vision during this period and their hard work in enabling our beloved organisation to remain visible. We have worked hard to sound out the membership and to really listen during this unprecedented, historic moment. We have witnessed or heard about so many of our colleagues facing the most difficult challenges of their careers, such as funding cuts at their institutions; some are facing job losses and so many of our early career scholars are facing a seemingly hopeless job market. We have been asking ourselves, how can SAA provide some hope, some concrete support and facilitate continued active engagement with the discipline? In order for us to respond to these challenges, we ask your financial help: your gift is tax deductible, and will fund the initiatives and changes we anticipate in the coming year.
As a result of having to cancel the 2020 annual meeting and convert the 2021 annual meeting into a virtual gathering, we took a financial hit. The cost of including a virtual platform in 2022 is proving yet more expensive as the market surges. Meanwhile, we are looking at an in-person meeting in 2022 with 1/3 fewer members attending. But we are nevertheless committed to bringing our members together, particularly in this, our 50th anniversary year! As such, we will be expanding travel grants to help as many as possible who do not fit the usual categories of graduate students and contingent faculty.
We are aware of the importance of communicating with our members, especially now that we are creating interim opportunities for engagement, such as two virtual events this Fall and a graduate symposium in February aimed at strengthening our commitment to the next generation of Shakespeare scholars. To that end, we have appointed a Social Media Manager who will help responsibly promote the SAA and all of its activities. We have big plans for the future: our Bylaws committee has been helping us to re-evaluate and re-shape our governance structure, while we have created new award categories to incentivise creativity and made Diversity and Inclusion central to our mission by creating a new standing committee focused on access for all. Finally, the Trustees are thrilled about our 50th anniversary plans that are underway for Jacksonville and we hope to see you all there. But we need your help to enable SAA to flourish as it makes its journey into the next 50 years.
Shakespeare Association of America