Expanding the criteria for Lochac A&S Champion

By   11 February, 2017

Over the last 6 months I have had numerous conversations that indicate the current format for choosing the Arts & Sciences champion is not meeting the needs of the Kingdom. This is demonstrated by low entries in A&S competitions, and low recognition of the champion, or even the existence of the title, across the Kingdom.

This consultation paper (5 pages) sets out the issues, relevant responses from the Kingdom A&S survey, and details on the proposed changes.

The TL;DR version is:

  1. A champion per reign, announced in Court at Coronation.
  2. The champion is determined through a points system which takes into account the various ways that the populace contributes to A&S in Lochac, and not just through 4 competitions per year (see the paper for the proposed points system)

Points towards the championship will be allocated for the following activities.

  • Contribute an item to an A&S display, Kingdom or local event level. Includes Laurel Prize at Rowany Festival, and A&S display at Canterbury Fair
  • Perform a period piece of entertainment at an event. Think music, singing, poem, theatre.
  • Teach a class at any event
  • Have an article published in Cockatrice
  • Have something scored in a competition that follows the Kingdom competition score sheet, or similar. This can include local competitions. The test is, are you scoring the item out of 50, with a clear description of how points are allocated, and at least 2 people have scored the item. If the scoring is a different scale to 50 then the final score will need to be adjusted to fit the point bands.
  • Attain a ranking in a guild. Where a guild has a different set of ranks, then the equivalent names and scores should be negotiated with the Guilds Deputy, and the decision should be recorded in the guilds documents and the Champion webpage.

Points are allocated on a scale between 1-4 depending on the effort and reviewability of the activity. The specific points are set out in the consultation paper.

The collection of points will be managed by the Arts & Sciences Officers of the Kingdom, as well as Guild Administrators. An online form will be created for officers to input points with their quarterly reports.

Consultation Questions

I’m interested in answers to the following questions. You can comment below or send an email. Also happy to discuss in person/on the phone (email me for a phone number).

  1. Is this a workable model? What benefits and pitfalls can you see?
  2. What else could be included in the points system? How would we fairly allocate points across the Kingdom for that thing?
  3. How do we include research and science in this schema?
  4. Should we include period arts martial, including Archery, in this schema?
  5. What sort of item should we consider for perpetual regalia?
  6. Anything else you think we’ve missed or should consider?

Consultation is open until 15 March (just over 4 weeks).

22 Comments on “Expanding the criteria for Lochac A&S Champion

  1. Natasja

    I think it’s a good idea. Another barrier to entering kingdom competitions is getting your entries to events you can’t make it to, and having it spread out over more things will alleviate that problem, as well as allowing people to play to their strengths.
    Possibly also points for organising and judging competitions?
    I don’t think we should include the martial arts, outside of research articles in Cockatrice. The fighter arts have their own competitions, and one of the concerns was that A&S was being overlooked in favour of fighting.

    Just my two cents before I head to work

    1. KMoAS Post author

      “Possibly also points for organising and judging competitions?”
      Thanks for the idea, but that’s probably outside the scope of the Lochac A&S champion concept, as it’s fostering the ability for other people to showcase their A&S rather than showcase their own producing an item, sharing research or performing.

  2. Mina

    1. Is this a corkabue modeu? What benefits and pitfauus can you see?
    (okay that is hilarious, that is what copy/pasting from the pdf makes on my comp. brilliant.)

    Anyway, I love this idea of spreading the idea of being a Champion to include more than the KA&S comps. While at the same time possibly making them more tempting! There is still a bonus reward for entering them.

    There was a question of embracing more research. I think including teaching and Cockatrice articles certainly balances that! KA&S could also possibly include more than one research category or in general allow documentation without physical finished product. I think most of the comps. I have participated in or wanted to could easily have been done as research only. And I did spend month each time working on the documentation. So it’s not an “easy” out!

    Regalia: yes! And a perpetual record. To my shame I have a beautiful token given in my very earliest years in the SCA that should be passed on but there was no record attached to it and I have not been able to find out more- also we had a fire, things got stored and forgotten where they were stored…… My beautiful embroidery scissors only just got discovered in a bag I do not own.. anyway.
    Life happens, so I have a definite desire that history of the regalia cannot be on the receivers only! Being responsible for getting it to Crown is fine, but may require at least some formal method of doing this. In the intensity of the moment information can wash over and not be retained.

    To think of the points table:
    1) Contribute to an A&S display, one point. (assume local A&S officers keep tally)
    I like this. In terms of encouraging participation, this is great 🙂 Really good balance of enticement and reward. And likely to encourage a flurry of activity at least once a year. I see this as both encouraging people to enter the championship and also to be inspired in general- I know I often look at Kingdom A&S comps/guild comps. and be inspired even if I can’t enter.

    2) Performance, 1 point (again local A&S to keep tally?)
    could this also include pageantry? That is an A&S skill too and may be more suited to some groups or may help alleviate fears of Performing(tm.) even though it really is performance… Same requirements for being appropriate to period of course- SCA heraldry is its own thing. Could also lead to documentation and further reach than local audience in that form. very much like. Totally just thinking of my own expectations here, A&S may officially differentiate more.

    3) teaching a class, 2 points (local A&S tally?).
    Great to encourage teaching. I would suggest submitting class information to whatever body is overseeing the championship though- that should also encourage teachers to generate and publish class notes too. Though it may make it feel more daunting- the other way would be at a group level which may be difficult to maintain across two countries.

    4) Have an article published in Cockatrice (Cockatrice editor tally?).
    I do really like this but there is the potential to publish to publish. This may need some other criteria or evaluation? Mainly because we are starting to see multiple points being achievable.

    5) Competitions, 4-2 points. (local and KMoAS?)
    Great! It may take other competitions think more about record keeping and scoring and judging of course. Not so much an issue but potential for thinking at both a local and broader kingdom level both as officers and the populace. But I like the idea of using the championship to possibly encourage people who can’t travel easily to continue to participate locally 🙂

    6) attaining rank in a guild, 4-2 point (Guild tally)
    Rank in a guild is a one time deal. Does this carry over to subsequent years? I would suggest it does. It will then mean guilds will have to be a bit more active to make sure ranks are updated each year or more frequently. Which is probably a good thing. Also two points between master and apprentice does not give an unfair advantage, especially when one looks at what one has to do to attain master rank in a guild. it’s more than a year for most people. More than two years.
    And I think it will make guilds really think about what it means to be an apprentice.

    I do love this and appreciate this is a draft, not final form, and that there will be a lot of wishes from a diverse Kingdom :). Any queries I have are about potential to be self sustaining/maintaining. And because this is exciting 🙂

    1. Amalie

      I don’t think points from guild rankings should carry over from year to year. I think the championship should be about activity during the 6 months (or year) it applies to and it’s an unfair advantage to be able to start that period with 10 or 15 points in your pocket if your interests happen to line up with ones from guilds. You could win with a much lower level of activity than people at the top of their game in more niche areas.

      1. KMoAS Post author

        Agreed, and thanks for stating it so eloquently. My intention was to reward the effort of achieving a guild ranking in the period that it occurs, as per all other elements of this system. Starting the period with a cumulative score already would be discouraging to other people who might aspire to be champion and that’s the opposite of what these changes are trying to achieve.
        Clara

  3. Angele de Savigny, LCoA

    Making period archery equipment and research into period archery should certainly be included, as should articles on the same. No archery competition gives credit for that.

    1. KMoAS Post author

      Hi Angele, I’d really love to talk to you about this, as recognising period archery was a minor theme in the A&S survey done last year. Shall we have a chat at Rowany Festival?
      Clara

      1. Margie

        The Laurels have long said that Archery, Fencing and Equestrian are potential areas we would recognise, depending on which aspects/activities. Therefore I agree that the should be recognised here too. Feel free to talk to me about this too, as a Laurel and a member of The Lochac Company of Archers.

        1. Lowry ferch Gwynwynwyn

          I cannot see why an activity could not be both martial and A&S. The “sporting” side of the activity is obviously martial and the historical, research and creating historical garb and equipment is the “A&S” side. I guess it is a bit like it is a pig when it is alive, and pork when it is cooked. (:-D)

  4. Claricia filia Wilelmi dapiferi

    I like the idea of expanding the competitions. It can be particularly hard to get entries across distance e.g. between countries and between states with biosecurity issues. This limits the type of interests likely to become champion.
    Rather than including martial arts, maybe the champion must give at least one class in the year of competition.

    It would also be nice to have an area to collect your results. I have only entered 3 competitions but have never once been present at the end and getting score sheets is diabolic. If the aim is to foster A&S within the society, then results should be announced with the same speed and enthusiasm as the fighting and feedback must always be available – at least to the entrant but wouldn’t it be wonderful if people shared their submissions in one collection.

    1. KMoAS Post author

      Hi Claricia, I’ve been working on this, trying to make sure each entrant gets their results in the week after a competition, and that results are announced in court. We’ve got some work to do to make this stick for every Kingdom event, but we’ll get there 🙂
      Clara

      1. Claricia filia Wilelmi dapiferi

        Posting in Court is great – but it can be weeks before it goes out in a Cockatrice. Could they be announced on line along-side the tournament results? Create the excitement not an “Oh by the way some folks out the back did cool stuff! – a couple of weeks ago!”

        1. KMoAS Post author

          Yep, trying to do that too. The last three sets of comps results have been announced online within a day or two of the event, in the Lochac facebook group and the Lochac Announce email list. You may have missed the announcements?

      2. Lowry ferch Gwynwynwyn

        We have just had Border War (in our little Shire of Bordescros) and we always include A&S competition entries and pageantry in War Points; some children’s activities are also included, as well as archery, heavy and rapier activity. At final court (or gathering if no royalty present) the winners of each area for which war points are awarded are announced (1st, 2nd, 3rd get bonus points) then the final war points for the War Bands are announced. The winning band gets to divide up the spoils from the war chest (everyone who enters contributes to the chest). Feedback is handed out straight after court.

  5. Margie

    I am wary of the performance part.
    Can I perform in my own campsite? Can I sing a filk?
    Will only period performance material be acceptable?
    Can I get point for singing with someone else? Do we get the same points? What if the other person wrote the piece? What if I just joined in impromptu?

    I am concerned performance opportunities like The Boar’s Head may be inundated with folk trying to get points, rather than folks wanting to share entertainment. Can also be difficult for event organisers if they need to pick and choose, as I do for Boar’s Head, and people may feel discriminated against, but each year I make the choices about which pieces are performed and in which order. I do this in an effort to provide a strong and interesting program for the evening.

    1. KMoAS Post author

      Hi Margie, I completely agree and I think this is the category that will need some very clear guidelines as the last thing we want to do is have stewards of events or hosts of performance opportunities inundated with people simply wanting to get points. It’s the one I’m least clear on at the moment and I know it needs some work. However, we do need a way to recognise and include performance as the focus on “making stuff” and excluding performance in our A&S comps was a critique that came through in the survey. And I agree with the people that posted this and would like to address it.

      I just realised that the consultation paper didn’t include some of the conversations I had at Canterbury Faire about the idea, that was an oversight. So, some thoughts: In tackling this area, let’s start from the perspective that in this system points are good, if in doubt you should get one, and we should manufacture appropriate ways for points to be generated throughout Lochac. Following from this I think ensembles would get a point per performer. Maybe they get to nominate a composer if appropriate, who would get an extra point for writing/arranging the piece. Would have to be a performance at an event as recognised by the steward of the event and pre-organised with that steward (no random stand up and recite a long saga just as a meal is being served…), I’d be loath to include filk or modern folk unless the performance community thinks that is OK.

      Dance is related to this category as well, and thinking about how to allocate points for that one will be tough. The results of the Bal d’Argent are good, but what about smaller balls that are held? Do we only allocate dance points if there is a competition held?

      Perhaps in addition to the Kingdom A&S open displays, we need specific performance “open displays”? Sadly holding them at Kingdom events wouldn’t work as that format is already full.

      So many more thoughts/ideas, but this is why I’ve left the consultation open for a month. Shall we have a coffee and talk through some of the pros and cons?

      Clara

    2. Lowry ferch Gwynwynwyn

      Good points Margie. Perhaps if it is a specific Bardic Competition – the way we do the Mouth from the South Memorial Comp?

  6. Veronica Bellini (Monica Armstrong)

    I think the big issue is A&S entries can take a lot of time and effort. For example I’m working on something that has taken me over a year right now. Sometimes there is not enough time to make something suitable for a kingdom level A&S.
    Add to that it seems to be an after thought, both in announcing what the competition will be and announcing the winner. The feedback on paper can be vague. I like the Q&A with the judges idea. That is a great way to get feedback for some.
    The final issue I have is how different the subjects are from one kingdom event to another. I can’t enter something I didn’t get finished in time in another event, except for the Laurel’s prize tourney. If I know I’m not going to finish something I’m making specifically for an event, I won’t start it. My time is better spent embroidering garb, which I know will be reused.
    My suggestion to solve part of this is to have standard competitions. Instead of “a device from england in x year” what about categories. Eg a woodworking, an embroidery and a cooking entry. Then have novice to expert in that. Possibly have longer running themes. “over the next 4 reigns the theme will be a device from England in x year” that would give us longer to work on entries.
    Mundane craft competitions are so successful because they have the same criteria every year. You know what you are aiming for. We don’t have that. The goal shifts too often so people lose interest.

    1. KMoAS Post author

      Hi Veronica, thanks for the feedback and I completely agree. The Laurels in general noticed a trend over the last few years for narrower and narrower competition categories and have been working with the last two KMoASes to try and reverse this trend.

      Have you seen this post on the site? http://artsandsciences.lochac.sca.org/2016/12/consultation-2-years-competition-categories/
      It sets out the competition categories that I’m proposing for the next 1.5 years. Have a look, it might address this comment, and I’d certainly be keen to hear from you on whether it does or doesn’t.

      Also, I’m encouraging (and soon to be mandating with the launch of this concept) open A&S displays at all Kingdom events so that anything anyone is working on can be displayed and admired by the populace, and then generate points for the Lochac Champion. This might address another aspect of your comment.

      Clara

  7. Tatianitska Iaroslavna

    I would like to see a self-reporting option as well. It would need to have a verification system, but not every qualifying action will be seen or noted by even the most eagle eyed of A&S officers.

    Plus not every group has an A&S officer to send the information through, and that would leave active people without a way of accumulating points. Or if the A&S officer goes through a rough patch (exam period etc) and is unable to report or attend for a time, you could end up with someone very deserving missing out.

  8. Gwen verch David

    Is it workable? Benefits? Pitfalls?
    It sounds workable so far, and certainly I think it’s likely to improve things without breaking the systems we have in place. It definitely encourages participation at a basic level as well as a more complex one, which I think is always a good thing. The variety is great as well, and I think it’s likely to document a much larger selection of the A&S activities in Lochac.

    Regarding point allocation for the performance arts: since the local A&S officer may not always be present, may I suggest a self-nomination system? At the end of an event, the performer and someone who watched the performance could come to the A&S officer and report it. Or submit a form, perhaps.

    I also agree with Mina’s suggestion that Guild ranks should be applicable every year, although of course this will be more work for A&S officers to collect. The whole system places a greater burden on local A&S officers, and as Tatianiska pointed out, that may not always be workable at a local level.

    What else could be included? How to allocate points?
    Providing period food or alcohol for an event should be rewarded, equivalent to performing or entering an item in a display. Cooking is a performance art, so it’s harder to enter in a competition, and has to be remade every time, but we have some fantastic cooks in Lochac doing wonderful work at our events, which should be recognised, I think, not only as the act of service that it is, but also as an art.

    How do we include research and science?
    Research is already rewarded in competitions, which is good, but of course the premise of these changes is that competitions alone aren’t doing enough. I think rewarding publication in Cockatrice is a good thing, but for a beginner, it can be intimidating. Perhaps in addition to rewarding teaching, there could be an extra point allocated if the handout was posted online, or perhaps submitted to a central website.

    Should we include arts martial?
    The arts martial have their own championships, and are already highly regarded. However, there are those (Wintherus Alban of Politarchopolis comes to mind), who have devoted themselves to research and craftsmanship that is connected to those arts. Thus, running an archery class should not count, but running a class on fletching, or writing an article about period archers should.

    What sort of item should we consider for regalia?
    If visibility is part of our aim, then something that is likely to be worn at multiple events would be good. To my mind, that rules out hats and cloaks, because it’s very likely for them to clash with a given Champion’s preferred presentation. Perhaps a baldric, or a token on a chain.

  9. Megan McConnell

    I like the idea of expanding the ways one can become A&S champion – what if no comps duringthe year are ones that interest you? And it also recognises other ways in which people contribute ot the A&S within Lochac.

    On the point of teaching a class at an event – what about at a regular A&S meeting? We have wonderful people who volunteer to teach A&S classes at regular meetings and I think thee people need to be recognised as well.

    As for research and Science – well it is Arts AND Sciences, so they should be recognised just as the Arts are. I have seen people teach Science topics, and I do try to include a science-based competition in the ones I set. Maybe the research component could be included in the “published in Cockatrice” component? Also documentation – the research – is a category in competition judging.

    I like a special thing/token that the A&S campion can then pass on, but also somethign for them to keep in perpetuity woul dbe nice as well. Here in River Haven, we have a plaque that is a perpetual trophy (made many years ago by Mistress Nerissa de Saye) and the A&S champion also gets a special tassle. They hand on the trophy but keep the tassle.

    All in all I love this idea!

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