On the relationship between research and A&S recognition

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

“I was told I’d never be given an A&S award or get A&S recognition unless I do research. Is that true?

A reply from the Minister:

There are lots of versions of these kinds of comments people make. You can pretty much plug and play. Here’s what I mean:

“You’ll never be a ‘Silver Brooch/Maunch/Laurel’ unless you ‘teach/research/compete/travel/publish’.”

I’ve heard these kinds of comments too. It happens. Early on I’ve probably also said something very similar to other people.

First?

Let’s all agree to stop using the word “never” when we’re trying to help each other.

The SCA is a place full of individual growth and personal achievement. Let’s give people the opportunity to learn.

Next?

I would give people the benefit of the doubt. I would hope that they mean well. I would try to hear the constructive part of the comment – trying to let me know that there is something else I could work on – instead of the parts that sound like I’m not good enough or that I’ll never meet my goals unless I change.

That’s hard to do.

It’s hard to hear when you already think you’re on the right track. It’s hard to hear something like this when you think you’re already doing those things that they are now saying you need to do. It’s hard to hear when you’ve already jumped through a bunch of hoops and now this person is telling you that you need to jump through more hoops.

Next?

I’d remember something. The only people who give Kingdom awards are our Royals. They decide. Not the person giving this kind of the advice. The Crown does. And even in the rare circumstance that a King or Queen would say something like this they hold their office temporarily. The next set of Royals may have completely different expectations. You may not “have to” do anything other than be patient.

So then “You’ll never get an A&S award unless you do research” becomes more like “I don’t think you’ll ever get an A&S award unless you do research” because that person is not making the decision anyway.

Or it becomes “I personally wouldn’t recommend you for an A&S award unless you do research” because that’s something about which the person can actually make a decision.

Or something like “I think the other people I’ve seen who get that award do research so if you want that recognition too then it could help to do what I’ve seen them do too.”

You can’t control what people tell you. They’ll make mistakes. They may un-intentionally hurt you. Try to forgive them for doing that. You can even try and let them know what they’ve done with their choice of words.

But you can try and change how you hear their words. Considering trying to hear the constructive parts of what they’ve suggested and put aside the less helpful parts.

And, on top of all that, remember to talk to people. Lots of people. All sorts of different kinds of people. Give yourself a chance to hear feedback from lots of sources and not just one. That will help you gage the kind of feedback you are hearing.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.

Postscript: There’s also a whole different conversation about what is “research” and what people are looking for when they encourage you to do more of it. This reply focused more on a certain kind of unsolicited advice or a kind of poorly worded advice. I could write lots more on “research”. (So I will!)

On the relationship between the A&S Minister and the A&S Champions

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

“How do the roles of the A&S Minister and the A&S Champions interact? Since they are both tasked with promoting the arts & sciences in the Kingdom?”

A reply from the Minister:

You’re exactly right. The A&S Minister and the A&S Champions are both tasked with promoting the arts & sciences. So how do we work together?

Let’s start with looking at what our roles are. We can begin with a description of the office and positions from Kingdom Law:

The Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences:

  • Acts as advisor in all matters pertaining to the Arts and Sciences within the Kingdom to The Crown and subjects of the Kingdom, and supports study in those areas.
  • Supervises the Lesser Office of Chancellor of the East Kingdom University.
  • At the request of The Crown, works with the Kingdom Chamberlain to coordinate and supervise the creation of regalia.

What does all that mean?

There are the simple parts of helping The Crown, helping the Chancellor, and helping the Chamberlain.

There’s also the administrative part of helping all of the local and regional A&S offices and the Kingdom Guilds. That means being a resource for them as well as supervising reporting and activities.

It does not mean the office is “in charge” of any and all arts and sciences that happen in the Kingdom. The office is charged with supporting those activities as best it can.

The King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Champions:

  • Defend the honor of The Crown.
  • Advise and assist The Crown in the organization of the tournaments to choose their successors.
  • Further the practice of their arts throughout the East Kingdom.
  • Serve as members of the Royal Household, and attend The Crown in court.
  • Have the right to bear the regalia associated with their positions.
  • Provide to the Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer a written estimate of costs uniquely related to the organization of the tournament to choose their successor.

What does all that mean?

There are the more ceremonial parts of serving The Crown. They may attend The Crown in court or in other services. They may travel with The Crown to events.

They may provide specific functions and services as requested. For example they may create special pieces of regalia or largess. They may be asked to represent the East as A&S entrants at Pennsic War or other wars. They may also initiate individual goals or challenges for the position and for the Kingdom in order to support the community.

It does not mean these positions are “in charge” of any and all arts and sciences that are related to The Crown. These positions are charged with supporting those activities as best they can as directed for The Crown and for The Kingdom.

Now how do these roles interact?

The A&S Champions are not officers of the Kingdom A&S Minister. They do not report to the Kingdom A&S Minister. They are direct servants to The Crown.

They do partner directly with the Kingdom A&S Minister on many projects.

The biggest project they all work together on is creating a successful and meaningful King’s and Queen’s A&S Championship competition that promotes teaching and learning in addition to excellence and research. They also work on a number of projects through the year.

If you’d like to help with any of the projects that we are focusing on, remember:

  • Volunteer.
  • Share your ideas.
  • Hold us accountable.

Let’s work together!

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.