Tag Archives: competition procedures

A new Kingdom Competition system

By   17 February, 2018

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:

Introduction to A&S competitions

The competition rules

How to organise A&S competitions

How to enter A&S competitions

How to judge A&S competitions

Feedback in person – testing a new idea for Kingdom comps

By   22 December, 2016

Following various conversations I’ve had in the last 6 months, as well as a quick perusal of the survey results[1], it seems that the primary motivation people have for entering Kingdom Competitions is to get feedback on their work. Kingdom competitions have traditionally had a hand-lengths anonymous entries and judging culture, which is not doing any of us any favours. Many people have also spoken of how much they enjoy the Laurel Prize format, where a conversation about work can be held.

So, we are trialing a change to the format for 12th night competition judging:

  1. any entrants who wish are able to ‘defend’ their entry in person rather than just through written documentation.
  2. any entrant who wishes it can receive feedback in person rather than written feedback after the event.
    If this works we’ll incorporate it going forward.

How it will work

When you arrive at the event, or any time before judging commences, submit your entries as per usual.

Judging will commence at 3.30, and we’re going to give the judges 30 minutes to assess all the entries and read documentation supplied with the entry.

At 4pm*, you are welcome to come back to the hall and stand with your entry to either answer any questions the judges may have about your entry (don’t worry, they are most likely to want to clarify something they don’t understand – not to grill you. Our judges are all lovely people who don’t know everything), and to give you any feedback they have on your entry.

Remember you don’t HAVE to do this, it’s just an option we think some people may be interested in.

*Unless you want to attend the Fibre Guild meeting, in which case come back at 3.50.

Can’t attend in person?

The ability of every member of the populace to participate in these competitions despite the vast distances that our Kingdom covers is a concern that has been expressed to me, and is something I am keen to work on. It’s certainly been raised as a barrier to people entering competitions. However, for this particular event I want to trial the mechanics of in person feedback to see what works, and so this sort of feedback won’t be offered to all entrants.

Once we understand whether its valuable to entrants and how our judges feel about the experience then we will think whether other feedback options are possible.  I will, of course, try to send typed feedback to all participants in the week following the event.

[1] results coming soon to this website, promise!