The Kingdom-wide survey of A&S opinions and activity showed that one of the areas we needed to improve was our Kingdom Competition format. It really isn’t working for most of the Kingdom. This can be seen by a simple comparison between the number of entries received at competitions and the dis-engagement around the process of entering and judging versus numbers and the energy surrounding artisan displays like the one held at Canterbury Faire or Laurel Prize at Rowany Festival.
Respondents gave specific reasons they didn’t enter competitions. A large number of responses said that they just couldn’t get to the events to enter, many said they found the topics too narrow and were only likely to enter something if they were already planning to make it. So this means that entrants are drawn from a very tiny set of people that are going to a specific Kingdom event AND were already making something that fit a competition topic. I don’t know about you but that seems unlikely and not the culture of Lochac.
Other respondents talked about how they didn’t feel good enough to enter, were intimidated by Kingdom level expectations, or even didn’t want to enter as they didn’t want to discourage other entries (in the case of Laurels). So, yet again, we have broad swathes of the populace feeling like competitions as designed are not for them. We are a Kingdom that likes to cheer people on for their efforts, their enthusiasm and for how they have improved. If our competitions are too intimidating for the populace then we should change them.
Finally there were some really good and sensible suggestions. Group entries, the Anealan rubric, a focus on feedback, improvement and being able to compare yourself across the Kingdom as the purpose of the competitions.
Introducing Lochac A&S competitions for the post AS50 era
Featuring: A new rubric! New forms! Group entries! Winners announced by experience not topic!
Judging allowed around the Kingdom, not just at Kingdom events!
Here’s our current Kingdom Minister for A&S explaining the changes:
What does this mean?!
The less exclamation pointed explanation is: From now on Kingdom competitions can be judged at any time in the Kingdom at any official SCA event, as long as it is supervised by the local A&S officer, the Kingdom Minister of A&S or someone they have deputised (like an A&S co-ordinator for an event). The beauty of a well-written, standardised rubric (how judging points are allocated) is that it should calibrate judging across the Kingdom. This means entries can be judged at disparate locations and achieve reasonably comparable scores. We are a large Kingdom and this means better access and more inclusive competitions. It means we can actually find outstanding artisans across the Kingdom and not just those who are able to travel to Kingdom events.
The way we award winners is changing too. Instead of a winner for a competition topic, we’re going to award winners for experience levels. This means that our beginners have a chance to shine, and our more experienced artisans can set themselves challenges without fear of tall poppy syndrome. The experience levels are explained on the rules page.
There’s now also a group entry category. The Kingdom was inspired by the Politarchopolis Pentathlon. Many people have spoken to me about how they like to work with others and would like our competitions to allow this. So now they do. Go forth collaborative artisans! Show us what you can make together!!
Want to know more?!
We’ve written some new pages for the website. Check out: