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,
~p.w.

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.

One.

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.

Why?

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.

So?

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:

http://seneschal.eastkingdom.org/docs/eventbidform.php

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,
~p.w.