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.

Also?

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,
~p.w.

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,
~p.w.

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!

~p.w.

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
gfnp@eastkingdom.org

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.