On the status of Educational Outreach For the Office & Announcing a New Special Deputy!

Greetings! – A while ago, the MoAS office distributed a survey to the populace asking for thoughts about the future of the office of the East Kingdom University. After consideration of those responses, and much discussion, the office has an idea about how it wants to proceed.

The culture of A&S in the East is one that strongly encourages teaching. Each year, many subject specific scholas and universities are sponsored by local groups or kingdom guilds, and a wide variety of arts and sciences classes are taught at these venues. Because the people and groups of the East do such a wonderful job creating learning opportunities for the populace, quite honestly, the East Kingdom University office is not needed in the same way that it might be needed in other kingdoms.

However, there is an education role that that the MoAS office is well and uniquely equipped to provide for the Kingdom. It is the office’s intent to focus its attention on encouraging and teaching classes on topics about “How To Do A&S” in the SCA. These classes will not teach a specific art, but, they will teach artisans how to write documentation, conduct research, display their projects, and teach the knowledge that they have to others.

With this idea in mind, Mariette de Bretagne has agreed to become the office’s first Deputy for Education with the charge of helping to create, run and promote classes, such as the ones discussed above, throughout the kingdom. I am quite thankful for her service, and I look forward to working with her.

Please note that while the East Kingdom University may not be an official office in the Kingdom any more, any group may always decide to hold a general kingdom wide university. No permission is needed from the MoAS office, though official permission from the crown may be needed to specifically call an event a “kingdom” university. The MoAS office is also ALWAYS willing to offer advice about how to organize such events, and to help promote them to the populace.

Thank you,
-Lissa
moas@eastkingdom.org

MoAS Website: project update & request for feedback

Greetings! One of the projects that is on our list to work on for the year is to review and update the MoAS office website and the officer handbook.

I am happy to announce that Baroness Ysmay de Lynn has volunteered to help lead this effort and will work with our office’s webminister, Mistress Vika Grigina z Prahy to identify and make needed changes and updates. Ysmay and Vika will soon be reaching out to members of the populace, particularly local/regional MoAS officers, for their thoughts and feedback.

We wanted to let you know that this will be coming. But- if you have thoughts that you would like to share right away, please e-mail me, and I can pass your thoughts and suggestions along.

Thank You,
-lissa
moas@eastkingdom.org

Regarding Crown’s A&S and the Competition Rubric

Last year Philip reflected in a Q&A about how the Crown’s A&S competition went, and I thought I’d do the same this year. However, I want to focus in more specifically on how the EK competition rubric preformed.

Last year it functioned, but not as well as we wanted it to. We had made some significant changes before the competition last year, but those changes brought their own new problems with them. In addition to ideas about how we would need to modify the rubric, we also learned last year that it would be very important for us to work with potential judges to introduce them to the rubric and help them calibrate with us on how to best use the rubric during judging. We hoped that we could try to create a more consistent judging experience, which was somewhat lacking last year.

So- since last year’s competition, our rubric deputy Magnus worked with Philip, Elena and I to make changes to the rubric. We updated language, tested the rubric, listened to feedback, made more updates, and tested again. We modified how scores were calculated to make judges feel more comfortable, and to provide entrants with more detailed feedback. We did all this as we worked to hold rubric training sessions online and in person at a bunch of events throughout the kingdom, including at Pennsic.

And, you know what, we think this process worked! We still have some changes that we will be making to the general rubric before next year’s competition, but those changes are comparatively small in nature. All in all, the general rubric performed very well this year, giving us a range of different scores for entrants, and hopefully giving entrants detailed feedback about what they did well, and how they can take their projects further next time.

This year we also significantly updated our performance rubric, and used it to decent success with two competition entrants. Since this rubric is much newer and much less well tested, we will be making more significant changes to it based on feedback from judges and entrants in the coming months, and we thank our performing arts entrants and judges for their patience in working with a product that was not quite finished.

We have received a few bits of feedback from entrants so far this year, including comments about how we might be able to to better prepare entrants for their judging experience, especially those entrants who make it to the final round. We are listening, and we will do our best to make changes to improve the experience for next year.

I would also like to point out something that I found quite and encouraging about our competition this year, and that is the number of non-laurels who we had judging or shadow judging the competition. 11 out of 24 judges were not laurels, and 5 of those individuals were able to participate fully in the judging process (i.e. they were not shadow judges) because they had attended one or more rubric training sessions. While experienced and knowledgeable content expert judges will ALWAYS be important and very much needed at Crown’s A&S, the rubric and the standardization it brings with it allows us to open up judging to many more people, and that is exciting!

Our new rubric deputy, Elena, will continue to work with the rubric throughout the summer and fall, making changes, testing those changes, and organizing rubric training workshops, so that we have a better product, and an even larger pool of judges and entrants who are comfortable with the rubric, for next year.

If you have questions about rubric training, or wish to offer additional feedback on the rubrics themselves, please e-mail Elena at moas.rubric@eastkingdom.org

Thank you for listening,

–Lissa

moas@eastkingdom.org

Ministry of Arts & Sciences Officer Changes

Greetings:

I would like to announce two MOAS officer changes.

1) Mistress Elena Hylton will be taking over as Rubric Deputy for Master Magnus hvalmagi 

2) Lady Cecelie Vogelgesangkin  will be taking over from Mistress Agatha Wanderer  as Consultation Deputy. Agatha will staying on to run the consultation table at Pennsic.

My deepest and most heartfelt thanks go out to Magnus and Agatha for their excellent service!

Please note that the MOAS office has been working very hard to provide succession planning and train deputies. We want to avoid people getting burned out or feeling obligated to work for more than a few years at a time. We are very happy that this is working out this way.

My thanks also to Master Philip White who has agreed to stay on as deputy MOAS for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.

-Lissa (MOAS)

On retroactive documentation

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

“Hey! Master P! I just finished this really fun project and I’m very happy with how it turned out! My friends are really impressed too. I’m thinking I should enter it in a competition. They’ve encouraged me to do it. How do I go about documenting it before I enter? Can I back-document it?”

A reply from the Minister:

First? A few comments!

We are really happy that you are working on projects that you think are fun and that you’re proud of completing. Congratulations!

That’s an experience that we hope for everyone learning and exploring the arts and sciences.

We are also happy about your interests in A&S competitions and documentation. Both of these things, entering competitions and completing documentation, are great ways to share your research, to teach others, and to learn more about your studies.

Now? An observation to share.

Many A&S competitions are designed to support and encourage research driven projects. That means that the entries that score better are often built from the ground up and historically informed every step of the way.

The difference could be, for example, asking yourself “is this pretty” and “is this pretty in a historical way”. These two questions could create completely different projects. Both would result in “pretty” objects. But one would more likely end up looking historically informed. And that historically informed project would more likely end up performing better in a competition.

This also means that the people who typically enjoy these competition experiences the most are the people that started their projects with research and continued researching as they completed their work.

True, getting a “good score” on your project is not necessarily the same thing as having a “good experience” with a competition. People enter all the time with no expectations of winning. They may just want time for exposure to talk to people and to learn more. And that’s not just okay but also encouraged.

Also! Another observation to share!

Documentation is not just a tool for competitions.

Documentation is a communication tool. A way for us to share with others what we have learned. A way for us to teach others. And a way for us to show what else we have to learn. A way for us to make our ideas concrete. A way for us to stay organized.

We can do documentation all the time. Not just for competitions. We can do it for our award documents and our feast menus and our largess and our site tokens and our heraldic objects and all sorts of things. People can learn from all of these kinds of projects.

Documentation can be written down for a competition. But it can also be a blog post. It can be pictures on a webpage. It can be comments on a picture posted to social media. It could be an article published in the gazette. It could be notes on the back of an award document. It could be a piece of paper attached to largess. It could be notes on the back of a feast menu.

This is documentation that we use for educational purposes only and not also for competition.

What happens when we try to use it for competition, too?

That’s where that “back-documenting” part really comes into play. And that’s where people sometimes run into challenges.

What do I mean? Basically, when someone finishes a project, and then, after the fact, tries to work through all those steps of how and why they made the project. But they try to make those past decisions appear to be researched based and historically informed.

That’s hard to do. Why?

Because if an entrant doesn’t already have a well-developed historical eye, then the finished project may come out more modern than authentic.

It is possible, true. Some highly experienced people may be able to create projects that are strongly based in previous research that now basically lives in their mind. They have trained themselves to have a historical aesthetic. A period “eye” if you will. “Pretty” and “historically pretty” could be the same thing for them based off of their training. The objects that those people may be well-positioned to enter A&S competitions.

For most of us this may be really hard to do. And that’s when we start seeing entrants that may try to start “justifying” their decisions. And that doesn’t work too well. Here’s an example with clothing. This might be when people start with one inspiration, say someone else’s costume they find as a picture on the internet, or maybe a costume from a movie or a TV show, one that may really be more fantasy based. But then later try to work out how their project could have also been inspired by a clothing found in a grave find. A judge can tell that the work was not historically informed.

This is when entrants start having less fun entering competitions because their entries may not score as well. And we don’t want people to experience that feeling. We want them to have fun.

So, what do we suggest?

We think you should be proud of your work!

You started out on a path, you worked hard, you learned along the way, and you finished. Enjoy that feeling! That’s great!

Also, please do document your project. Talk about who/what/when/where/why/how. Share those things with people. It is a good way for you to help teach other people.

And, yes, please consider entering a competition. But, make sure that this project is the project you should enter.

And remember, not all competitions are the same. And not all competitions are focused on research-based projects. Your entry could be perfectly suited. Not sure if it fits? When in doubt ask the competition organizers. They will help you!

Maybe this project is one that you set out for a display. And not for competition. That way you’ll get to still teach people. You’ll still get to learn. But the historical aspects are not judged.

Then, you can take what you’ve learned, and prepare for a competition with a historically informed and research based project from the very beginning.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.

On those who are entirely research-oriented

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

“I’m not a maker, I’m a researcher. Does the East Kingdom have an outlet for those who do research but do not make things? Is there a way to share my research with the Kingdom, or enter a research paper into a competition?”

A reply from the Minister:

ABSOLUTELY!

I know. I know. It is gauche to use all caps when typing. (Unless it is Thursday, or so I understand!) I’m just really excited. My apologies!

Still. Why my excitement?

Because I love research. Many of us love research. Even those of us who make things. Or who perform things. Because the research part helps us all be better at the things we love to do.

So, while you’re not making anything physical, you are making the knowledge part possible. You’re learning. And you’re helping the rest of us to learn too. And that’s super important to the success of our organization.

So, yes!

We want research, in all possible forms, happening. It is encouraged!

So lets look at possible outlets. Here’s just a few!

Crown’s A&S Championship Competition:

That’s right! Research papers and projects are VERY welcome at the Kingdom’s top A&S competition. In fact, our current Kingdom artisans both were selected off of research projects. Here’s a link with more information:

Other A&S competitions:

Many of our local and regional competitions welcome research entries. Some may not state it directly, so, just ask! They may be able to accommodate your entry.

We also make the Kingdom Research Rubric available for these events. So it may be entered in a format that you are used to.

A&S Display Opportunities:

Please consider A&S displays too! Not everything is a competition. Sometimes events set up space for people to share their work too. Your reseach is work! Think about sharing it!

SCA Demonstrations:

This is basically an A&S display opportunity. Just to the public! Bring out your research and have some great conversations with people. And maybe bring in new members at the same time!

The East Kingdom Gazette:

Reach out to the Curator of Feature Articles. They may be interested in working with you to publish your research!

Maybe your local branch has an active newsletter. They could want content. Publish there!

Or maybe you could publish for the SCA.

Tournaments Illuminated
The Compleat Anachronist

There may also be some subject specific SCA newsletters. Check and see if there is another place your work could be wanted.

Classes:

Classes are not always about making a thing. Or learning how to perform a thing. Sometimes they are simply set up for learning. People might use the hour with a set of PowerPoint slides or a handout and give a lecture class. Just like you might see at a modern university.

At a local event you might not get many attendees. But even a few people could be fun to share and talk with while you cover your information. Wars and Society events might be suited well for more in-depth classes.

Personal Blogs / Social Media:

Self publish! House everything you are working on at your own blog. And then share that blog with others. Put your links to the Kingdom social media pages.

Or, skip the blog, and share your work directly through social media posts. I’ve seen a number of people successfully engage others through their research work with these posts.


Now, before you head out there, a note about communicating your research.

Know your audience.

Are you writing a research paper?

That might be best for something like the East Kingdom Gazette or Crown’s A&S Championship. That’s where you will find readers.

But, attendees at a display or a demo? Or people walking by your competition piece? They will not have time to read a whole paper.

For them, you may want to have a shorter synopsis of your work that you can share with them. Maybe samples, examples, pictures, notes, and the like. Things that are engaging and help you have a conversation and teach people. That’s great. Then you could follow up with the research paper later at another date.

That said?

I’m sure there are other ways to share your research. This is just a start. And by no means an end. I only answered ways that we share research within the SCA. Some of our members publish or teach modernly and well!

Is there a way you liked to share your research? Please share here!

Is there a format of sharing research from others that really worked well for you? Please share that here too!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.

On “mean peers”

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

“Master P! Can you help me with something…? There’s this art I want to learn, but, the Laurels who do it are snobs. They’re hoity toity. They’re unapproachable. What should I do?”

A reply from the Minister:

Let me try this. I’ll start with my reply, but then, add two stories to help illustrate my thoughts.

First, where are these assumptions coming from?

How do you know someone is a snob? How do you know they are hoity toity? How do you know they are unapproachable?

Where’s that coming from?

Is it because of the way they dress? Because they wear fancy dress-up Court clothing all the time? Is it because of whom they hang out with? Because they might be serving on the Crown’s retinue? Is it because of how they talk? How they laugh? How they smile?

Are you projecting something about their behavior?

Could it be how you were raised? Or the social norms you grew up with? Were you taught it was inappropriate to talk to others first? Were you raised to show respect by not approaching people in charge? Do you have cultural inhibitions playing a part of how you see others?

Is something else influencing you?

It could be your own biases coming into it. Your own prejudices. Your own past experiences interfering with your opportunities to learn. Or it could be the influence of your friends or your household. All of that could be coming into it when you judge someone as a snob or as unapproachable.

So, maybe try this?

Pause for a moment.

Be careful making judgments about people you don’t know. Be cautious making assumptions about people you’ve never even talked to. Or maybe only talked to once. Or just met in passing. First impressions can also be misleading.

Think about where these judgments are coming from. Maybe this has nothing to do with the Laurel at all. And maybe it has to do with your past experiences.

Remember, Laurels are people too. And, really, all Peers, at the end of the day, are people.

We might have bad days. We might have a frowns on our faces. We might have a headache. We might say the wrong thing. We might stick our feet in our mouths. We might make mistakes. We might have personalities that don’t match. We might have trouble making eye contact. We might be self-conscious. We might have imposter syndrome.

We’re people. We’re not perfect.

But for all that? We do try.

We love the arts and sciences. We love learning. We love teaching. We love building our communities.

So, give us a chance. Get past the assumptions and the pre-conceived notions. And share in the arts and sciences with us.

Here. Let me share some personal examples now. A couple of stories.

Story 1.

Me? I know that people call me snobbish, or hoity toity, or unapproachable. And it makes me sad. Because I try very hard to be friendly.

I also really like to dress up. It is one of the reasons I am in the SCA. And something I have done from the very very beginning of my SCA activity. I like pretty fancy clothing. I have spent lots of time researching my garments. I have spent lots of effort assembling my clothes. My friends have spent a good deal of effort making clothing for me. And I have searched out merchants who can help me with my look, too.

And, yes, just because I dress this way, people can find me unapproachable. These are people who have never even talked to me. I’ve not done anything, except dress up.

Story 2.

I was new to the East. Sure, I moved in as a Peer into the Kingdom. But I still didn’t know anyone. I was always self-conscious about fitting in. I was always worried people wouldn’t like me. (Sometimes I still am!) I was always afraid to meet people.

I remember seeing Mistress Eloise Coulter at events. She always looked impeccable. Her kit was perfection. Her composure always maintained. The more I learned about her the more impressed I was by her. She was a Landed Baroness. She was a Laurel and Pelican. She had decades of service and artistic contributions to the Kingdom. She was one of the best scribes in the Kingdom. She was the epitome of “The Dream” to me.

And I found her completely unapproachable.

Was that her fault? No. Not at all. It was wholly on me. It was my peer fear. My insecurities. My issues.

Thankfully, a common friend eventually introduced us. And I learned that she’s quite remarkable as a person. And one of the people I am most thankful to know. I’m sad that my inhibitions didn’t give us a chance to be friends earlier.

So?

Let’s give each other a try. Let’s forgive ourselves for making assumptions. Let’s forgive each other for having the occasional bad day. And let’s figure out how we can pursue awesome artistic adventures together.

Not sure how to go about it?

Walk up and say hello at an event. Let them know what you’re interested in. And ask about when you could talk more. They might be busy already! So, give them a chance to make another time to talk more.

Send an email! Introduce yourself and share with them what you’re interested in. Ask if they can help, or, if there is someone they think might be better to assist you.

Attend one of their classes and use that as a chance to meet them. Teachers expect to meet people while teaching. So, if you’re worried about being an imposition, this could be a great place to get past that issue.

Ask a friend to introduce you. Or maybe one of the local A&S officers. Or really ask anyone to help you. Get an introduction so that you don’t have to do it on your own.

You’re waning to learn. They may want to teach you. But, they can’t know unless you say something. Give it a chance! It may not work. But at least you have tried!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.

Notes from the A&S Town Hall, Nov. 1, AS LIII

Greetings from Master Philip White, East Kingdom A&S Minister!

Last week we held a web meeting as a way to update the populace on the status of the A&S Office in the East.

Here are some notes from that conversation for those who were not able to attend.

Accomplishments:

  • Reporting audit and updates – All groups who were at least three quarters behind have been notified of their lack of active officer. Those branches have now all been made current. Reporting continues to regional officers, landed nobles, and local seneschals. We’d like to have an online reporting tool and are working with the Kingdom Webministery for what’s possible with reporting.
  • Crown’s A&S Championships – Set regular and reoccurring competition expectations, advance announcement of requirements, updated rubric, updated entrant and judges expectations, entrant and judges training, and accepting documentation in advance. Also accepting requests for displaying artisans.
  • A&S Consultation Tables – Continuing to schedule and promote these throughout the Kingdom. Will also keep holding them at Pennsic.
  • Coordinating support for Pennsic A&S War Point and assisting the A&S General – Significant change from populace vote to judging by criteria in order to give more balanced results and better feedback and word fame for champion artisans.
  • East Kingdom University – Continued discussions about the future of EKU. Survey responses are varied and do not show a clear direction. The Kingdom Office continues to be open to supporting those willing to serve and/or host an EKU event in different forms. However, in the last few years, local events have filled the space and need for college/university events where A&S classes are offered. The Kingdom Office does not want to conflict with or hurt the success of these events.
  • Promoted communication and transparency – Reporting reminders, emails to officers, publishing in the Pikestaff and Gazette, announcements online, website updates.
  • Continuing the “Ask the Minister of Arts and Sciences” posts
  • A&S administrative classes – Continuing to offer these classes online and at events including subjects such as research, display, entering, judging, and organizing A&S activities.
  • Kingdom A&S Website – Continue to update content and navigation. Added A&S specific calendar. Looking to expand what’s on the calendar.
  • A&S Minister Handbook – Discussed need to update content although the current handbook is functional. Low priority because it has not been a highly requested document.

Follow up items:

  • Publicize the A&S website and its resources.
  • Encourage individuals to teach ongoing classes that build on previous sessions.
  • Check for resources on how to run college/university events for local branches.
  • Encourage local seneschals and landed nobility to spread A&S events throughout the year when possible.

If you have any questions please let me know.

I also announced that I will be stepping down at the end of my term of office in March at Crown’s A&S Championship Competition. This announcement will be made in the Kingdom Newsletter in December and January. If you have questions about the role of Kingdom A&S Officer and in replacing me contact me for details.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

~p.w.

East Kingdom A&S Office Town Hall – 11/1/18

Greetings from Master Philip White, East Kingdom A&S Minister!

We are inviting everyone to a general meeting with the East Kingdom A&S Office held through a online webcast.

A kind of “State of the Union” for the A&S Office in the East. Or you could call it a “Town Hall”. “Open Q&A with A&S” would be fine too. Anything like that will work!

We’d like to start by talking though the things we’ve accomplished recently in the office, then talk about what we are working on next, and then follow up with other ideals we are still trying to work on.

We’d like people to ask questions and make comments about any of these things items.

And then we’d like people to bring up anything A&S related they’d like to cover.

All are welcome! Come join us! Meet the East Kingdom A&S Office!

All that is missing is you!

Topic: East Kingdom A&S Office Town Hall
Date: Thursday, November 1, 2018 (11/1/18)
Time: 7:00 PM EST, 8:00 ADT

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/120158772

Or iPhone one-tap: US: +16468769923,,120158772# or +16699006833,,120158772#

Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 120 158 772

International numbers availablehttps://zoom.us/u/acxUeB7kbM

Webcast address and conference call number will be announced the week of the meeting. Thanks to Master Mael Eoin Mac Echuidh (Michael Broggy) for his technical assistance in setting this all up!

Hope to talk to you all soon!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

~p.w.

On whether to enter Crown’s A&S Championships

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

“I saw you posted the rules for the Crown’s A&S Championship competition. Should I enter?”

A reply from the Minister:

Should a person enter?

Well, that’s not something I can answer. That’s something artisans really need to figure out for themselves. Instead of telling someone what they should or should not do, I try to walk them through a thought process to figure out what is right for them.

Here’s how I go about it. I ask a series of questions. Here’s an approximation of how I go about that interaction:

  • “Have you entered an A&S Competition before?”
  • “Have you read the Kingdom rubrics?”
  • “Have you visited one of the A&S Consultation tables?”
  • “Do you know what you want to enter?”
  • “Do you think it will be fun?”
  • “Do you have something to teach? Do you have something to learn?”

Some might read this and think I am pushing back on artisans. It’s okay to think that. I am pushing back on artisans.

But why would I do that?

I want people to have good experiences.

I want people to enjoy A&S Champs for what it is… A rigorous and difficult challenge where people are critically assessed and given thorough and constructive feedback while getting to compete against some of the best artisans in the Kingdom to represent the Consort and Sovereign as their champions.

I want people to have fun.

Not everyone will have fun entering A&S Champs. I know that. We’ve made mistakes as judges and as organizers. We try to correct those when they happen and try to avoid making them in the future.

One thing we try to avoid is people who are not prepared for the experience of entering A&S Champs. Rarely do they leave with a good feeling about A&S Champs. And worse they might leave with a negative overall feeling about A&S competitions and displays in general. Or maybe all A&S in general.

That’s not people having fun. I don’t want that to happen.

The A&S Championship competition isn’t for everyone. Competitions in general aren’t for everyone. Even displays are not for everyone.

So should an artisan enter A&S Champs? Only if it is right for them.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.