On the relationship of the Bardic Arts to Arts & Sciences

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“Is Bardic considered part of the arts and sciences? If so, why did you give more attention to King’s and Queen’s A&S Champions than you did for King’s and Queen’s Bardic Champions? Why doesn’t Bardic get more attention?”

A reply from the Minister:

There’s a lot here. So, please give me some time, and I will answer your questions.

So, yes! Bardic is absolutely considered part of the arts and sciences.

I think I see why you ask this. I’ll come back to that in a moment because I want to address this more.

The A&S Office in the East Kingdom has an extremely flexible and welcoming concept of what we consider A&S activities and studies. As long as you are focusing your efforts and studies on pre-1600 studies then we’re looking at that work as relevant our organizations goals to promote the arts and sciences.

Your work doesn’t have to be perfectly researched or exactly reproduced. You can be a beginner or a master. You can be a performer. A cook. A fighter. A researcher. A teacher. And more.

We really just want people to be having fun, learning, and teaching. If people are doing those things then we will consider A&S in the East successful.

Now, for this first question. I think the second question tells me why they first was asked.

People may feel that I did not support or promote, as the Kingdom A&S Minister, the King’s and Queen’s Bardic Champions as much as I did King’s and Queen’s A&S Champions.

You’re right.

You may not know why that happened. The roles for these two competitions were not the same for the Kingdom A&S Minister.

This will be a reminder for some of you and new to others.

Historically, the current Champions were tasked with running the competition to choose their successors. That means people who were selected based off of their artistic abilities were now also tasked with an administrative expectation that may not be within their skill set or interest. After I accepted my position as Kingdom A&S Minister, I offered that the A&S Office could take over the administrative responsibilities of running both of these Championship competitions. The A&S Champions accepted this offer.

I certainly understand why they willingly passed over the work. There was a lot of it. And it is fairly complex. A&S Championship comes with three different rubrics. Lots of entrants. At least three judges per entry. Vast diversity within the kinds of entries submitted. Extensive documentation on top of the actual entry. Even with the help of the Champions themselves, two deputies, and additional assistance it was a lot.

We also had a good deal of public relations to manage. At least the three previously held A&S Championship competitions had difficult interactions during some part of the competition. We wanted to avoid that.

This meant that you would have seen a great deal of announcements from the A&S office as we worked through all of this together.

Contrast that with Bardic Championship. This competition has been run successfully in mostly the same format for years. There was little that needed to be changed or managed. The number of entrants is limited and the judging team is much smaller. And the arts involved are much more narrowly focused. It is a completely different job than the A&S Championship competition.

The Bardic Champions handed all of this expertly while at the same time even supporting us for the A&S Championship competition.

So, yes, while I promoted and supported both Championships, I was more directly and visibly involved with one of them because that was my responsibility.

I’m really very proud with what we were able to accomplish with both of these competitions this year.

Now there’s one last question you asked. “Why doesn’t Bardic get more attention?”

I think much of this question was based off of the King’s and Queen’s Bardic Championship so let me start there.

The bardic community has its own Champion roles. That’s pretty neat. Right? There’s not another reoccurring field specific artistic championship role in the East. We don’t have a Kingdom Scribe. Or a Kingdom Cook. Or a Kingdom Brewer. Or the like. Even though these are highly visible and much cherished arts whose labors are frequently used by the Royalty. But we do have two Champion roles for bards. That’s a big deal.

We were actually concerned that performing artists may feel left out of the A&S Championship so we worked hard this past year to promote the inclusion of the performing arts in the A&S Championship and created a performing arts specific rubric so that people could participate. That meant that bards had two different paths to serving as a Royal Champion.

Another point to recognize is that the Royals were able to participate in much of the Bardic Championship. That means that at least half of the people who entered the Bardic Championship had the direct opportunity to perform for the King and Queen. Now, that was not the same for the A&S entrants. Although the King and Queen attempted to see all of the displays they could not make it to all of them. And they certainly didn’t get time to really pay attention to people as closely as they were able to watch multiple performances. They made their best efforts but only the very top scorers were able to get the same attention that all of the first round bardic performers were afforded.

I point these items out because the bards in the East hold a special place within the Kingdom. The role of performers is widely appreciated and support is frequently given by the populace and Royalty alike.

Want bardic to get even more attention? I support that! I support more recognition for everyone, not only bards, and not only in the arts and sciences, but all throughout our organization. I’d say by this point it is well known that I heavily advocate for sharing the word fame and increasing the renown of people we admire are respect.

So please help bring more attention to the bards. As a community performers are well positioned to do this. Using your skills to promote others naturally not only lifts them up but also demonstrates the value of the bardic arts.

To close, thank you for asking these questions.

I believe I understand why they have been asked and I hope that I have been able to answer your questions. While my intention was not to have a community feel ignored I see that it is fully possible and reasonable for people to have felt that way.

My apologies to any of those individuals.

I hope that knowing more of the circumstances will reassure you that the A&S Office is fully committed to supporting our Kingdom’s efforts researching and recreating *all* historical arts and sciences.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,

On hosting A&S and/or Bardic Championships

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“Why was A&S Championship and Bardic Championship held together again? Can we have these two events separate next year? Can they be combined with other events?”

A reply from the Minister:

Let me be direct.

The A&S Championship and Bardic Championship were held together because the Kingdom only received one bid.


That one bid offered to hold both championships for the Kingdom. So the Royalty accepted it. Because there were no alternative options.

The Kingdom was grateful to even receive that one bid. Why? Because the other championship events had trouble getting even that much.

Yes, these events can be held separately next year. And yes, they can be combined with other events. And yes, they may be held together again.

But that’s all up to you.


Because the Kingdom is dependent on groups volunteering to hold these events for the Kingdom.

If you want to see something different, then please volunteer to create something different, or, then please support other people to help them organize something different. Be the change you are asking for.

Remember. You can work with your local branch, or, you can work directly with the Kingdom. Recent changes to Kingdom Law means that non-branch groups of people can submit bids to organize events.


Speaking of next year?

We are just a few months away from when bids are due to the Royalty for both A&S Champions and Bardic Champions in 2019. (That goes for other Championships, too!)

The Royalty may accept bids for a combined A&S Champions and Bardic Champions event or as separate events.

A combined event provides a number of benefits to the Kingdom:

For entrants:

  • Brings the arts together more across disciplines fostering community
  • Increased exposure to larger populations and audiences
  • Helps make both Champions competitions more of a destination event

For volunteers:

  • Minimizes the burden of the Crown for Royal Progress
  • Opens up the Kingdom planning calendar
  • Relieves the weight on groups needing to host Kingdom events
  • Limits the number of volunteers needed by hosting only one event

We know that there are potential challenges, too:

  • This could split Royal attention between the two activities
  • Space limitations for both kinds of entries
  • Scheduling difficulties between the two championships
  • Individual conflicts of interest between people who would like to judge and/or enter both activities

We have successfully managed good experiences at the last two combined A&S Champions and Bardic Champions event. We would be happy to do that again. We would also be happy to make other arrangements.

To submit a bid, please follow the Kingdom Event Bid Process found at:


For potential hosting groups, a few notes:

  • You will not be responsible for the organization of either Champions competition regardless of if they are combined with each other, another event altogether, or held by themselves.
  • Good event spaces for Bardic Championships will have a large hall for bardic performance, space for a Royalty room, a populace room, and changing rooms.
  • Good event spaces for A&S Championships will have a large hall for A&S displays and a separate room for judges. There should also be space for a Royalty room, a populace room, and changing rooms. There should also be easy access for unloading display materials from the parking or unloading area into the display area. A&S display areas should provide ample space for entrants. They should have good lighting and space so they do not have to yell over each other. They should also have easy access to water and restrooms.
  • Good event spaces for a combined event will have the above attributes as well as enough separation from the other combining event that there is enough space allowed for both activities.

Remember… Have fun! Teach! Learn!

Your Servant to Command,

Reflecting on this years Arts & Sciences Championship

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:

  1. Refine the judging rubrics
  2. Refine the competition rules
  3. 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.

Now, then…

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.

What’s next?

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,

What to expect at the King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“What should I expect out of King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship this weekend?”

A reply from the Minister:

Are you entering?

Then don’t panic or stress out! You should expect a lot of good fun. You’ll want to show up early, go through event registration, then go through entry registration, and finally set up display space. An hour of your day will be focused on the judging experience. You’ll have a panel that talks to you, reviews your entry, steps away to finalize your score, and then comes back to you for feedback. The rest of the time we hope you have lots of good conversations with everyone else attending. Enjoy yourself! And please, remember to stay hydrated and to eat!

Are you judging?

You’re in for a long day. A good day! With lots of good conversations! But long. We know. And we very much appreciate the work. You’ll also want to get there early. Start by going through event registration and then go through judging registration. Then you’re going to need to pace yourself as your go through the judging experience with each of the entries we assigned you. Enjoy these conversations and the partnership you build up with your panel members. And take care of each other! You also need to make sure to eat and drink throughout the day!

Are you attending?

Thank you for coming! You have an excellent opportunity for lots of learning! Please be aware that the entrants may be eagerly waiting for their scheduled judging time and may need to prioritize those conversations for about an hour. The rest of the time? Please talk to them! They are hoping to have lots of good conversations throughout the day. That means talking to you! So, ask them what inspired them or surprised them or what they thought was hard to accomplish. They will share!

For everyone:

Please thank each other. Especially our event staff and organizers!!

There are a lot of people that have come together to make this day possible. Be kind and understanding of each other. Some people may feel stress or frustration during the day. That’s okay! You can help by giving a smile or a word of encouragement to each other.

At the end of the day we’ll learn who the new King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Champion are. We’ll be happy for those two people! Congratulate them!

Please also congratulate all the other artisans who entered and met many of their own goals for the day. There’s enough joy and pride to go around to everyone!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,

Approaching difficult or problematic research topics respectfully

A Missive from Master Philip White, East Kingdom A&S Minister.

Within our organization, we encourage in-depth exploration of history through researching and recreating the arts and sciences.

In some cases, individuals may choose to investigate potentially unpleasant or difficult avenues of research. These works could be challenging due to both an historical context (violence or adult content for example) or due to awareness of modern sensibility (symbols co-opted by hate groups such as the swastika for example).

Individuals may also utilize historical resources and extant materials that have become available through problematic means (archaeological finds or colonial acquisitions for example) or that have been published with a contemporary bias (revisionist histories for example).

To set expectations, these artisans are asked to approach their research and work with special care.

They are expected to remain aware of potentially offensive symbolism or messaging within their works and to treat their research and reproductions with sensitivity and understanding (symbols co-opted by hate groups such as the swastika modified into another motif for example).

They are expected to present these materials with proper context and framing so that their historical use and purpose can be understood while trying best to avoid offense and misunderstandings (thorough documentation and explanatory display for example).

This means that a member of the populace may come across publications, displays, classes, competition entries, or other related educational opportunities that may contain materials that are upsetting to participants or viewers.

We ask that everyone, both the artisans and the populace, approach each other with kindness and courtesy.

Should any aspect of the arts and sciences present any individual with any concerns then please contact me directly at moas@eastkingdom.org.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!


Supporting the East Kingdom email migration

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“Should these sunglasses be legal?”

A reply from the Minister:

I get a lot of these questions, actually.

They come along with the “Your source for printer ink at a discount!” and the “Flashlight! Blind your enemies – Insane glitch forces low price!” and many many others.

These are the kinds of questions I really hope not to get! I’d like them to stop!

And you can help!

The migration of our Kingdom’s email services to Google for Nonprofits proceeds apace.

Please, the Webministry needs the user information spreadsheets returned from every branch and Kingdom Office or we can’t proceed.

(If you’re about to hold elections for all of your Officers, please feel free to hold off until after that. Migrating everything once is enough, we don’t need to do it twice.)

Our goal is to complete this migration before the end of the reign of Their Majesties Ivan and Mathilde, which means we have to be migrating something at least every other day in order to succeed. That includes weekends, and holidays. But we can’t migrate without users to migrate.

All of our documentation, for users and for local Webministers, is at: http://webminister.eastkingdom.org/…/google-for-non-profit…/

This includes the FAQ, how to reset your password, how to set your From: address (that’s really important), mailing lists, and how to deal with handing over an office to a new Officer, including how to hand off old email.

As always, please direct any questions or concerns to:

Master Joel Messerer (Joel Lord)
East Kingdom Deputy Webminister for Services

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,

Appreciating knowledge and feedback from all givers

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“Why do some people seem to value praise from Laurels and Maunches more than the rest of the populace who don’t have these recognitions?”

A reply from the Minister:

Receiving praise is a wonderful thing. I expect that most of us appreciate someone saying a thoughtful word to us about our efforts. It’s nice to have someone recognize our work and abilities. It feels good.

Now, lets say that praise is coming from someone who you admire or respect. Like a mentor or a teacher. That might feel even better.

Or, perhaps that praise is coming from someone who is a member of an Order to which you aspire. You might have a goal of becoming a member of the Orders of the Laurel or of the Maunche yourself. Then that might feel really great. It then might feel like someone is telling you are on the right track to achieving your goals.

I can’t fault people for feeling good about any of that. Those seem like reasonable and natural responses to me.

Here is where I would caution people.

It would not be beneficial for individuals to dismiss or ignore people who are not members of those Orders.

Focusing only on hearing from people who are members of the Orders to which you aspire means you are missing out on building relationships and learning opportunities. You’re missing opportunities to grow.

You could also risk developing a reputation that you’re less interested in mastery of your skills and knowledge, teaching others, and promoting the arts and sciences as a whole. Even if it is not your intention, you could risk people believing that you’re trying to reach your goals instead through sucking up to Order members.

Making new relationships is good. Building partnerships is laudable. It is worth not risking alienating people who can help you develop by solely focusing on members of these Orders.


Every instance of praise is a learning opportunity.

Not everyone who is a Laurel is an expert in the skill you are attempting. Not every expert in the skill you are attempting is Laurel. Be open to hearing from everyone and you give yourself more opportunity to mature as an artisan.

Now, let me add here to the original question. I know we are not only talking about praise.

I have heard people ask similar questions about why artisans seem to only value constructive feedback given by members of the Orders. Or that there are artisans who will only take classes or attend workshops by members of the Orders. If those people do exist then they are missing more opportunities to learn and grow. We have lots of individuals who are capable in their own right to teach classes or provide constructive criticism without being members of the Orders.

My suggestion?

Treat everyone with respect. If someone is taking the time to give you praise (or even feedback) then listen to them. And, thank them.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,

Unpacking hard feelings about A&S competitions

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“My friend is really upset after entering an A&S competition. They are very angry and are saying they will never enter an A&S activity again. What can I do to help?”

A reply from the Minister:

First off, thank you for offering to help. It is hard to see our friends get upset or angry or sad or frustrated. So we want to help where we can. That’s commendable.

Second, A&S competitions are not for everyone. And really many kinds of A&S activities are not for everyone. Please do not try and convince someone to do something that’s not right for them. They may be best served never participating in an A&S competition again. And, that’s okay. There are lots of ways to enjoy A&S. Let your friend have fun the way that brings them joy.


If we think about it, many of us have probably experienced this situation ourselves. Right? So it may help to answer this as if we were in the same situation ourselves. What would we do? How could we be a good example? Can we then coach people into the same steps?

Me? I would start with a self-assessment.

Why am I upset? What am I angry about? What’s got me frustrated? Start there. If you can put words to feelings then you can start to take action.

Here are just a few examples of what I mean.

Did you read the rules one way? And then they were implemented another way? Or maybe even changed on you as the competition was happening? Then that’s a problem with how the competition was run. You can talk to the organizer or the A&S Office about that.

Did you get a judge that gave you difficult feedback? You can talk to them. Or talk to the organizers. Or talk to the A&S Office.

Did you not like having your entry judged? That’s okay. You don’t need to enter competitions. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with how the judging works. Maybe it is just not right for you. Try a display or artisans row or something else instead.

Did you show up late and not get the time you expected to show off your entry? That’s not on the activity then. That means you need to arrive in time to get all the feedback you’re hoping to receive.

Did you want to make a deliberate display of expertise or knowledge (i.e. “show off”) to some judges or senior A&S community members? Judges are there to give you feedback and help run a competition. They are typically not signing up for a class. While judges do hope to learn you may want to sign up to teach a class instead.

Did you expect to win? But then you didn’t? Wanting to win is good. Ensuring a win is outside your control. Be reasonable to yourself and reset your expectations. Never walk in expecting you have it in the bag. Try to win, sure, but also go in looking to learn.

Did you expect a different score than you received? You can talk to the organizer or the A&S Office about that. You may need to have your entry rescored.

Those are just a few examples.


Figure out why you’re upset. See what you can do to fix it.

Talk to your judge. Or the event organizer. Or the A&S officer. Or a friend.

The A&S Officer could be your Local A&S Officer, or the Regional Officer, or you can even come to me as the Kingdom A&S Officer. We want to see things working out and people happy.

Not sure of who to talk to? Ask for help.

Not sure if you are in the right place? Check.

Get a second opinion and see if there is something else you can do to fix the experience.

Here’s something I suggest not doing:

Going on social media sites to complain. It may feel good to vent. It may feel good to have some affirmation from your social network. You’re also not respecting the people who volunteered to run the activity or be your judge or try their best. Go to them first and give them a chance. Venting online doesn’t actually help you or them.

Here’s what I would like:

I’d like to see entrants and judges working well together. That means constructive criticism and active listening going on between people showing respect and valuing each other.

That’s a reputation we can support throughout our organization.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,


Visibility for service folks

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“You write about how artists can display their works or enter competitions. And I know the fighters can enter tourneys and fight in battles. What can service minded people do to share what they’re working on?”

A reply from the Minister:

That’s a fair question. Does it seem odd for me to answer as the Kingdom A&S Minister? I think not.

Why? Because I am very interested in the East Kingdom teaching more and learning more. I think there is much we can learn from how artisans work in sharing their experiences and then do very similar things with people who are focused on service.

A note before I begin.

This isn’t about showing off. This isn’t about sucking up. This isn’t about gunning for an award.

True. These things below can help your renown. You may have increased visibility and impact within the Kingdom. It can make it easier for people to recommend you for recognition.

But that’s not the point. That’s a side affect.

Now, back to the question.

Basically much of what I’ll suggest comes down to documentation. And, if there is anything we know about in this office, it is documentation.

Think about your process. Thing about what you’ve done. Think about what you’ve learned. Document it. Then share that with other people.

What do I mean of documentation?

Here are some examples:

  • Event Stewards: Hold a post-mortem. Talk about what worked well. Talk about what could be improved. Take notes. Write them up! Share them with the group to make the next event better. Share them with other groups so that they can learn from you too.
  • Registration: Did you figure out a great way to run gate (troll)? Did you write up an excel spreadsheet that was good for tracking for pre-registration? Did you come up with a process that made things move quickly and efficiently? Write them up! Share your spreadsheets and forms with others. Offer your work to others so that they don’t have to repeat it.
  • Leadership Roles: Were you able to plan well in advance? Have a timeline that you worked on with people? Were you organizing through web tools or other project management teams? Talk to others about these tools and help them learn how to use them too.
  • Team Lead: Promote the team members you worked with and highlight their skills. Recommend them to others. Give them word fame.
  • Local Officer: Share your reports with your local groups. Publish in the newsletter. Share them on social media or on your local website. Let everyone know what’s going on in your group and how everyone is participating. It doesn’t have to just go to your Seneschal and up line officer. You can share things with everyone.
  • Landed Nobles: Share with people what it’s like to lead a local group. How is leadership different than what you expected. Offer to help other newer Landed Nobles in their jobs. Type up a handbook or guidebook on how you did the job and share it with your successors or with other Landed Nobles.
  • Royal Staff: How are you running things? Write it down. You’re in a job that changes every six months. And it is different from Reign to Reign. But some things are worth keeping and continuing. Share it with the next reign. Share it with other people on the Royal Staff.
  • All Volunteers: Did you have a job description? Did you know what you were volunteering for? Then write a job description up. Is your job different than what you expected? Then write that up too. Figure out what you’re actually doing in your job. And figure out what you’re doing that you think is above and beyond. Write that down too.

You get the idea. There are so many ways this could be done. From people running tourneys or battles to people working on voice heraldry to people working in the kitchen.

No job is to “obvious.” No job is too “behind-the-scenes.” No person is too “visible.” No person is too “remote.”

We have a lot of hard-working, talented, and smart people in the East. We are rich with opportunity to learn from each other.

How could you share it?

Here are some examples:

  • Update your East Kingdom Wiki page: Share some of this information there. You can write up some of your “best practices” for others to read.
  • Keep a blog: Write up short (or long) posts about what you are learning. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
  • Engage in Social Media: Start a conversation about what’s worked for you in your job. Ask others about how it might work for them. Ask them what they would do differently.
  • Publish: Write a handout. Write a handbook. Write a set up guidelines. Whatever the thing is type it up into a document so that others can learn from you.
  • Engage in Print: Write up articles for your local newsletter, or for the East Kingdom Gazette, or for SCA websites.
  • In-Person Discussions: Teach a class. Lead a round table. Set up a session. Run a consultation table. Whatever the thing your doing meet with people in person and talk to them about what you’re working on.

Again, these are just examples. And, again, no job is too big or too little to talk about. We can all learn from each other.

It’s up to you to share. This isn’t something only for people who are peers. This isn’t something only or members of well-known households. This isn’t something only for people living in highly populated areas.

We’re all making the East run. We can all be a part of teaching and learning.

Those of us in the far reaches make it happen. Thos of us who can’t travel make it happen. Those of us engaged more behind-the-scenes make it happen.

Your work is not something you need to be embarrassed about. You are allowed to feel good about your hard work. Share it. You have people that want to hear from you.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,


Complimenting work without adding pressure

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

I get asked, “Why aren’t you a Laurel yet?”
I know they mean well, but, at the same time it is frustrating. How should I handle questions like these?

A reply from the Minister:

We’ve probably all heard something like this at one time or another. We may have even asked it to other people ourselves.

Variations of this question include “If you lived in another Kingdom you’d already be a Laurel” and “Oh, I thought you were already a Laurel.” There’s a number of ways this can come up.

And, it could really be asked of a person about any kind of recognition.

So, there are two people here. And, I’d like to write to both of them. First, the person who gets asked this kind of question. Second, the person who asks these kinds of questions.

I remember getting asked these questions too and getting told these things. It *was* frustrating. I agree!

I didn’t have any control over the award system. There wasn’t an easy to follow checklist to know what I was missing. There wasn’t a list of people that I needed to convince to support me for elevation.

And these things are not changing. There will not be checklists or the like. They can get more transparent. And that’s what is happening. I know I figured things out more by talking to more people and having lots of discussions and learning.

But, back then, how was I supposed to know?

I knew they meant well. They were giving me a compliment. They thought that I was ready for recognition. That was nice!

It was also a reminding me that I hadn’t achieved my goal. Sometimes it felt like I was failing. Or that I wasn’t passing some test. In some ways it felt like a backhanded complement. On one hand they were telling me that I was deserving and on the other hand they were reminding me that I wasn’t. Like I said. Frustrating!

It sounds like a simple question. Yet, it is a complicated and difficult answer.

So, how would I reply?

Honestly and tactfully. That wasn’t always easy to do. And sometimes I was better at it than others.

I found a good reply to be “Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Other replies could be:

  • “I’m on the path and looking forward to when it happens.”
  • “I’m still learning. There is more work I want to do in my field.”
  • “I’m getting to know the community and the job of being a peer.
  • “I’m not interested in being a peer. I know it is a job and my focus is other places.”
  • “I don’t know why so I’m still figuring that out myself.”

All of these things could work. And more. As long as you reply with positivity, honestly address to your circumstances, and stay tactful you’ll be fine.

Remember. They’re likely giving you a compliment. Be nice in return.

Now, to the people who feel tempted to ask these kinds of questions?

You likely really want to give your friend a compliment. So, do just that! Help them avoid the confusion and frustration and awkward reply. Don’t put them on the spot!

Here are some good examples of things to say:

  • “You’ve got a lot of talent!”
  • “You arts are beautiful! You have a great eye!”
  • “I’m totally impressed with your skill!”
  • “You’ve really improved over time.”
  • “I am so excited to see what you’ll be doing next!”

Basically? Say something with honesty. Make your complement with meaning.

You can stop there. Nicely done!

Remember? You just wanted to help your friend feel good.

So, stick with that complement.

Separately, you may want to *also* encourage your friend working towards a certain recognition. Why? Because receiving recognition can be fun and rewarding too. Accepting the responsibilities of peerage or another recognition can *also* be fun. You may want to help them with that.

To do that? Make it a conversation.

Learn more about that recognition. Talk to people holding that recognition already and ask them about their experiences. Share with your friend what you’ve learned and ask if you can help them along their path. Be a partner with them on their journey.

And, remember, you can also write them in for award recognition. Maybe that’s all that is missing!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,