A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:
“So, how did the A&S Championship go?”
A reply from the Minister:
For the most part? I think really very well.
(Hint! I am going to save what I am most proud of for the end!)
I am enormously pleased of all our entrants.
There are so many of you that jumped out of your comfort zone to compete. Thank you for showing for the first time. Some of you said “never again” after difficult competitions in your past. Thank you giving us another chance. Some of you display untraditional arts and sciences. Thank you for showing up with something new and different and exciting.
Lots of you really prepared for this event. We noticed. The level of research and craftsman ship was high. Thank you for working with the rubric in advance. Thank you for attending the competition preparation sessions. Thank you for attending one of the A&S Consultation Tables.
Sure, these things may have helped you with your scores. They also helped you make better displays. They made you better researchers. They made you better teachers. It paid off in the experiences you had with everyone at the event. You helped people to learn. That matters more than a score in my opinion. So, thank you for that.
I am so appreciative of all our judges.
We think we significantly improved in our overall results over the past years. What does that mean here? More people had a positive experience. Less people ended upset and frustrated. Overall satisfaction with the competition is higher that past competitions. More fun. More learning. More teaching.
So many people responded well to your feedback and input. Because so many of you volunteered we were better able to balance your schedule. That gave you a chance to spend more time reviewing with artisans and to then give more meaningful constructive feedback. Thank you for being present. Thank you for caring. Thank you for trying your best.
Let me add a specific thank you here to our shadow judges. Last year we only had a few who were learning about this process. This year? Most every team had someone shadowing through the judging process learning about how to critically examine entries and constructively give written and verbal feedback. It was really inspiring to see so many people stepping up to join the ranks.
It has been a pleasure to work with Mistress Sofya Gianetta di Trieste, past Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences, and Mistress Raziya bint Rusa, past King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. They have been a joy.
I am excited to continue this work with Lord Doroga Voronin, new Queen’s Champion of Arts and Sciences, and Lady Elena Hylton, new King’s Champion of Arts and Sciences. They are already settling into the role with zeal.
I am extra grateful for my Special Deputies, Mistress Elysabeth Underhill and Master Magnus Hvalmagi, who managed so much of this process. I asked them to work on a few things to make all this happen:
- Refine the judging rubrics
- Refine the competition rules
- Run the next King’s and Queen’s A&S Champion’s Competition, including registering entrants and organizing judges
They did all of these things with better results than I could have ever hoped. The Kingdom as a whole has benefited from their strong work here.
What am I most proud of?
We asked for people to tell us what they needed. We asked for them to tell us when something wasn’t right. We asked them to tell us what wasn’t working. We asked them to tell us when they needed help.
And they did.
Here’s the deal. We failed some entrants. Simply put we didn’t give some of the entrants the best experience possible. Some we were able to solve for before the competition was over. Some we were able to work through during the day of the event. Some we have been able resolve after the fact. Some we are still working though.
How do we know? Because they told us.
I am most proud that over the last year we’ve been building trust and confidence with the people who want to participate in the arts and sciences so that they could tell us the good AND the bad.
That’s how we learn. That’s how we make things better.
That constructive feedback is so valuable on BOTH sides of the table. They came to us with a chance to improve how we work with participants. They didn’t vent publically on the internet. They spoke privately with their friends and mentors. And then they worked with us.
Some of these entrants plan to stop competing. They are looking to display and teach and demonstrate instead. Some of these entrants are already planning their next competition piece. And some have volunteered to become judges and help make things better from the other side.
All of these things are admirable solutions. We are excited to support these entrants, and all of our entrants, in whatever way they plan to pursue their studies.
We are learning from this feedback.
We’ll capture and continue the parts that we did right, such as the A&S Consultation Tables, advance publication of the rubric and rules, and overall communication efforts.
And we will focus on improving on the rest for example we hope to improve judges training and calibration.
If you’ve like to help with any of these efforts please let us know.
I know. That was such a short question! But as always I had so much to say in reply!
Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!
Your Servant to Command,