Becoming a Local MoAS

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Arts & Sciences within the East Kingdom!
Originally written by Baroness Danabren Madadh-Mara, OL and Mistress AnneLiese.
Refreshed and edited by Lady Isabel Chamberlaine, OSR. OM

First, the boring bit – the requirements for becoming a local MoAS! These are the official requirements as stated by East Kingdom law, and as a local MoAS you will be held to these standards. The complete policies for the MoAS office can be viewed on the official East Kingdom forums.

  1. Pertaining to the responsibilities of the Kingdom A&S Officer
  2. Pertaining to the responsibilities of the Drop-Dead Deputy
  3. Pertaining to the responsibilities of Regional Deputies
  4. Warranting of Local A&S Officers
    1. Per East Kingdom law, all baronies, provinces and principalities are required to have an A&S Officer. Shires are required to have either a Knight Marshall or A&S Officer (both are good, but only one is required). Cantons, Ridings, Colleges, Strongholds and Ports are required to have Herald and/or Knight Marshal and/or Minister of Arts and Sciences (more than one of these is good, but only one is required)
    2. A&S Officers generally have a two-year term, renewable
    3. The Seneschal and A&S Officer of the local group should send a letter to the Kingdom A&S Officer at the beginning of the local A&S Officer’s term. The letter should contain:
      1. The SCA and Mundane names of both the Seneschal and Local A&S Officer
      2. EITHER a legal signature or the SCA membership number of both the Seneschal and Local A&S Officer
      3. The start and end dates of the Local A&S Officers term
  5. Responsibilities of Local A&S Officers
    1. Support the Arts and Sciences according to the wishes of the local group’s populace and Officers.
    2. Report to their Regional Deputy and Kingdom Officer quarterly, no later than the first calendar day of March, June, September, and December. If there is no Regional Deputy or the local A&S Officer does not know who it is, reports should be sent directly to the Kingdom A&S Officer.
  6. Definition of Report
    1. A report from a local group should consist of at least:
      1. the name of the person reporting
      2. their local group
      3. their office (especially if the person reporting is not currently the A&S Officer)
      4. some affirmation that A&S activities are happening in the local group and/or that they are still interested in encouraging A&S activities in the local group
      5. it is permissible to complain about the fact that one has to report as part of the report and/or give suggestions on how A&S could be better run at the Kingdom level
      6. other useful information could include specific activities and the dates upon which they happen, names of people and the arts they are currently practicing, wish-lists of what local members would like to learn from members outside of their group, etc.

The contact information for the current East Kingdom MoAS and Regional Deputies can be found on the MoAS Officers page on the main website.

There’s good news and bad news!

The bad news is that there is no MoAS Handbook. Yet! But, the good news is that your job doesn’t come with a lot of restraints, which means you’re free to do whatever you think will best encourage the arts and sciences within your local group.

The only real responsibility you have is to observe arts and sciences activities within your local group, and then report them to both your Regional Deputy and the Kingdom MoAS every 3 months (see 5.b of the MoAS policies). It is the job of the Kingdom MoAS to support the local MoAS officers and to report the overall arts and sciences activities to the Society MoAS.

Some ideas to consider:

  • Promotion of activities within your local group, offering the chance for people to try new things.
  • Place a regular editorial in your local newsletter, if you have one.
  • Steer people in the direction of others that are more knowledgeable in a specific art or science.
  • Photographic displays of your hosted arts and sciences activities at local events.
  • Start your own local mailing list, Yahoo Group, Facebook page or Google+ Circle to stay connected with your local arts and sciences people.
  • Encourage local members to read, and submit to the new East Kingdom A&S Newsletter.

Some things your group might like to do:

  • Regularly scheduled sewing, garb, embroidery, or other small project days / nights.
  • Workshops on specific arts (pewter-casting, leather work, woodwork, brewing, calligraphy, etc.)
  • Musicians gatherings and rehearsals.
  • Trips to see museum exhibits or other special events.
  • Host an event with arts and sciences activities.
  • Support each other for individual activities, like teaching a new class, or entering an arts and sciences display / competition
  • Ask you local members for more ideas on what they would like to see in the way of activities.

Some lessons learned:

Be realistic and patient with your group members, they are volunteers and this has to stay fun for everyone, especially you!

Any activity that is regularly scheduled has to be on a calendar for at least 4 occurrences before most people in the group will even be aware it’s happening. Even after 4 occurrences, if you don’t announce loudly and repeatedly that it’s happening less than a week beforehand, people will still forget. The bottom line here is that if you or someone else coordinates dance practices, sewing nights, a series of classes, etc. that are intended to be ongoing events, don’t be too disappointed if you only get one or two people to show up at first. That’s completely normal. Don’t take it personally – and if you start to find yourself taking it personally, talk with someone you trust to figure out if it’s just a passing feeling or if it’s time to start trying something different.

One-offs, like workshops on a specific topic or trips to see things seem to be better attended because people can’t think “oh, well… I’ll just go next month”.

Don’t try to host everything yourself. Encourage people to host things, and make sure you support them by showing up as often as you can. Some people may need a few gentle nudges to commit to hosting or leading something, however you’ll be amazed at how much people know when you actually pin them to a date and make them talk about things they’ve been working on. Also, if you encourage others to take a leadership role in the Arts and Sciences, the whole group will benefit, your job will be easier, and you’ll be able to hand over your office at the end of your term to someone who has experience.

Encourage people to sign up for e-mail lists for specific interest areas, especially if they’re feeling like nobody else is interested in the things they want to learn. SO much can be learned by being on the various mailing lists, there are so many wonderful and knowledgeable people online. There is an abundance of SCA arts related mailing lists on Yahoo, including the East Kingdom MoAS list. There is also the East Kingdom Forums, the SCA East Kingdom Facebook group, numerous Google+ circles, YouTube channels and independent blogs.

Encourage people to attend events outside of the local group so they can meet people in person who pursue the same arts as they do. That’s really difficult in some metropolitan areas because a lot of people don’t have cars, but it’s still worth suggesting. Car-pools are a good thing, and if a bunch of people all pick one event they want to attend, it might even be worthwhile to rent a van or something.