Preparing for Your Trip to Seattle

Dear 39th Annual Meeting Participants,

We hope that you are as excited as we are about what’s in store for us next week. We even have a few surprises that we know you’ll enjoy!

In the meantime, please take note of some important information and reminders:

Media Information for Presenters

  • The SSA will provide projectors for those using a PowerPoint or other slide presentation. Please bring a USB device (and, if possible, a laptop) with your presentation saved on it. A number of SSA members have volunteered the use of their laptops, but it would be helpful if some presenters brought their own.
  • The Westin Hotel offers free wifi access throughout the premises.

The Weather in Seattle

  • The current weather in Seattle is around 61 degrees F (16 C) and few showers. The ten-day forecast is between 63 and 68 degrees F (17-20 C), with mostly sunny days. Bring an umbrella just in case!
  • The Westin Hotel conference rooms default temperature is set between 68 and 70 degrees F (20-21 C).

Fitness Facilities

  • The Westin Hotel offers free use of its fitness facilities to hotel guests. If you would like to work out during your stay, you may even pack light and leave your sneakers behind! The Westin will provide New Balance shoes and workout clothing for a nominal fee of $5 for the entire duration of your stay.

Post-Conference Tour and Local Attractions

  • Those of you who have not signed up yet will still have the opportunity to join us for a wonderful tour of Tillicum Village on Blake Island on Sunday, right after the conference closing ceremonies. You may sign up at the registration desk when you arrive.
  • Many of Seattle’s most famous attractions are within walking distance of the Westin, including the Space Needle, the Seattle Art Museum, the Seattle Symphony (Benaroya Hall), the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, Pike Place Market, and the beautiful waterfront. Here is an easy-to-use map and listing.

Transportation Options from SeaTac Airport to the Westin Seattle Hotel

  • Sound Transit Light Rail – The cost of the ticket is $2.75 one way and train travel time is approx. 40 minutes. You can buy the ticket at the vending machine at the station. Be sure to purchase your ticket before boarding the Light Rail to avoid the $124 fine. Directions: From Baggage Claim (Lower Level), take the escalator up to Skybridge No. 6 to the Sound Transit Light Rail Station (approximately 10 minutes). Take the train and exit at Westlake Station. At the station, either (1) take the elevator and exit to the right to find the Westin in front of you, or (2) take the escalator, exit right towards 5th Avenue, and walk one block down 5th Avenue.
  • Shuttle Express – The cost is $18 one way and travel time is approximately 30 minutes. Shuttle Express will take you directly to the Westin Seattle Hotel. To make reservations, visit or call +1-425-881-7000. Directions: Take Skybridge No. 4 from the Terminal Building to Level 4 and use the elevator or escalator to Level 3. Shuttle Express is located on Level 3.
  • For driving directions from the airport to the Westin Seattle Hotel, visit the hotel’s driving directions page.
  • A listing of additional transportation options between the airport and the Westin Seattle Hotel can be found here.

For our latest program information, please visit this page.

We are looking forward to seeing you soon!

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director
2014 Program Chair

Semiotics Book Exhibit at 39th Annual Meeting

Book Exhibit 1

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The countdown continues for the 39th SSA Annual Meeting in Seattle!

The Program Committee would like to extend an invitation for you to bring sample copies of your published books for display at the Book Exhibit and Gallery in the Westin Hotel.  If you have any questions about our book exhibit, please direct them to Gilad Elbom at

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director
Chair, Program Committee


Book Exhibit 2

Pictured above: Some of the latest publications in semiotics (2013-forthcoming in 2015), including works by SSA members and 39th Annual Meeting presenters.

Opportunity Knocks Again…!

Based on several requests, we are very pleased to announce that we have secured an extension for reduced-rate bookings at the Westin Seattle Hotel, for those of you who have not yet made your reservations. Please take note of the new – but absolutely final – deadline: Tuesday, September 9. Shall we take advantage of this opportunity?

To reserve your room at this discounted rate, visit Westin Hotel Seattle Reservations or call +01-888-627-8513.

We look forward to enjoying this wonderful venue with you!

Farouk Y. Seif
SSA Executive Director
Chair, Program Committee

Marketplace of Semiotics: Seminars/Workshops

Are you planning on attending our 39th Annual Meeting? Our Marketplace of Semiotics pre-conference activities are not to be missed!

Marketplace of Semiotics Facilitators

What it is: The Marketplace of Semiotics includes a plenary open space session followed by concurrent workshops or seminars taught by expert semioticians from across the disciplines. The sessions will focus on topics proposed and collaboratively developed by the participants themselves.

When: Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 9 a.m. (immediately preceding our conference Opening Ceremonies)

Where: The Westin Seattle hotel venue.

Who can attend: All conference presenters and attendees are invited to participate! The sessions will be of interest to both students and scholars new to semiotics and to experienced scholars.

How to register: When registering for the conference here, under “Optional Activities” select “Pre-Conference Open Space Session”. If you have already registered for the conference, you can return to our registration page to add this option.

More about the pre-conference Marketplace of Semiotics

Inspired by the idea of Pike Street Market of Seattle, the Marketplace of Semiotics is an extraordinary opportunity to experience the self-organizing, collaborative Open Space format with a leading expert in the field, Mark Hower (Antioch University Seattle). It is an excellent avenue for professional development and expanding your network and sense of a larger community of practice.

Because session topics are collaboratively generated, the Open Space process allows participants to examine and make meaning around what is important to them and, in so doing, deepens our shared community and impact.

Open Space TechnologyActivities will begin with an engaging plenary session led by Mark Hower, in which participants will be invited to explore the conference theme and propose topics for the workshops or seminars that immediately follow.

Participants will then join a session on a topic of their own choosing. These sessions will be facilitated by experienced semiotics scholars.

Plenary Session Facilitator

Mark HowerMark Hower, Ph.D. is a faculty member at Antioch University Seattle, and served as chair of Graduate Management and Leadership and the interim President for the Seattle campus. Dr. Hower was a founding member of the Graduate Programs in Leadership and Change, and developed its integrated curriculum and cohort learning model. He directed several U.N. programs, held several Peace Corps leadership positions in Ukraine, Baltic States, Russia, West Africa, and the Kingdom of Tonga in the Pacific. Mark has integrated these international experiences with his passion for collaborative learning, facilitation skills in organizations dynamics, and open space technology.

Workshop and Seminar Facilitators

Pre-Conference Facilitators

Our workshop facilitators are distinguished scholars in the field of semiotics from all across the disciplines:

(Pictured from left to right)
John Coletta, Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Marcel Danesi, Professor of Semiotics and Linguistic Anthropology, University of Toronto
Elliot Gaines, Professor of Communication, Wright State University
Richard Lanigan, Director and Fellow, International Communicology Institute, and Professor of Communicology (Emeritus), Southern Illinois University
Frank Macke, Professor of Communication and Theater Arts, Mercer University
Gila Safran Naveh, Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Cincinnati
Steven Skaggs, Professor of Design, University of Louisville
Stephanie Walsh Matthews, Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Ryerson University


If you’re curious to see what an Open Space workshop can look like, watch this:

Deadline Extended for Reduced-Rate Hotel Reservations

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Westin Seattle Hotel has extended the cut-off date for reserving rooms to 5:00 pm local time on September 2, 2014. Please make your reservation ASAP. After September 2, it will be at the Westin’s discretion whether to accept reservations, which will be subject to prevailing rates and availability. The SSA special rate for a single or double room is $195.00 per night, including complimentary guest-room wireless Internet access and other amenities.

To make your room reservations, please visit Westin Seattle Hotel Reservations or call +01-888-627-8513. Don’t miss out on this special rate!

My very best to all,
Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director

All Aboard! Destination: Emerald City

Destination Seattle Map

(Latitude 47° 36′ 23″ N / Longitude 122° 19′ 50″ W)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The 39th SSA Annual Meeting is just around the corner. In order to take advantage of the special SSA rate, please make your room arrangements with Westin Seattle Hotel Reservations online or by calling +01-888-627-8513 before August 22, 2014. After this date, room charges will be subject to the prevailing rates and availability. Don’t miss out on these special rates; rooms are filling up quickly.

I also encourage you to make your travel plans as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that conference activities begin on the morning of October 2 and continue through the morning of October 5, followed by an optional but highly recommended Tillicum Island cruise until 3:30 p.m. Please keep in mind our program schedule as you make your travel arrangements.

All aboard…!

Best wishes,

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director

Sail away…!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It’s my great pleasure to apprise you that we have received 168 abstracts from 24 countries. We have a record-breaking number of submissions as we “sail away” toward the 39th Annual Meeting in Seattle.

SSA Submissions Map_2014_6_28

For those of you who didn’t have the opportunity to submit proposals, I highly encourage you to come to Seattle. You will have many opportunities to engage in inspiring discussions with your colleagues. The 39th Annual Meeting will be a remarkable gathering!

With great anticipation,

Farouk Seif
SSA Executive Director

Don’t miss the boat!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As of today, we have received 115 abstracts from more than 20 countries for our 39th Annual Meeting this October.

SSA Submissions Map 2014_6_17latest

The deadline for submitting abstracts is approaching rapidly—this Friday, June 20th. If you plan on submitting a proposal, please do so soon as possible before the deadline. Due to the volume of abstracts already received, we may not be able to accept all submissions.

Please don’t miss the boat…!

My very best to all,
Farouk Seif

39th Annual Meeting Program: Some Highlights

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are very pleased to share with you the Preliminary Program Schedule for our 39th Annual Meeting, which will take place in Seattle on October 2-5.

We are creating an extraordinary conference for you this year. We are planning on more than doubling last year’s attendance and introducing you to an impressive international lineup of distinguished keynote and plenary speakers.

Our Westin Seattle Hotel venue, located in the heart of beautiful downtown Seattle, will provide us with a private, dedicated wing for all our concurrent sessions and exhibits. You will be greeted by an SSA Hosting Team that will be available throughout the conference to answer your questions about the program and nearby attractions.

In addition, here are just some of the highlights from the wonderful new initiatives we have in store for you:

  • A pre-conference courtesy room-share board, which will help to connect participants who would like to defray costs by sharing a hotel room.
  • A creative process to generate topics for seminars and workshops that will be facilitated by world-renowned semioticians.
  • A “Rising Stars” mentorship program, which will help to pair interested graduate student and junior faculty attendees with a volunteer expert scholar for one year.
  • An exhibit room featuring artwork, poster presentations, books and journal displays, and information on semiotics initiatives.
  • Special mealtime entertainment, including memorable concert and dance performances.
  • A revealing of our vision for the SSA and semiotics in the year ahead, as well as a sneak peek at what’s in store for our anniversary 40th Annual Meeting next year.
  • Tillicum Village

    Photo courtesy of Tillicum Village, Blake Island

    An extraordinary conference-end tour that will take participants on a cruise to Tillicum Village on Blake Island, the legendary birthplace of Chief Seattle. In addition to the stunning Pacific Northwest landscape, participants will enjoy a traditional baked salmon lunch and a Native American performance.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about this great opportunity to network, meet old friends, share our scholarly work, and continue to envision a productive future for semiotics together.

We encourage you to submit your abstracts as soon as possible, and no later than the extended deadline of June 20.

Finally, please share our conference page with any colleagues and students who might be interested in joining us:

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in Seattle!

Farouk Seif
On behalf of the 2014 SSA Program Committee