On the “wow” factor of competition entries

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

“I’d like to try entering King’s and Queen’s A&S Championship Competition, but I’ve heard that only “wow” entries do well. I really like to more narrow my focus and go really deep into my chosen subject. Should I enter even if I don’t have a “flashy” entry?”

A reply from the Minister:

I’m not surprised to read this question. It is a common comment for people to make. And, like many misnomers, it gets repeated and then spread as if it is a fact.

While you may regularly hear it said by others, let me clearly state that this isn’t the case.

This is likely an issue of perception versus reality. Perhaps people are remembering competitions from the past.

Perhaps people are thinking this happens with local events so that must be the same thing that happens at a Kingdom competition. Or maybe it is something altogether different yet leads to the same misconception.

Let me explain why this is not what is going on at the Kingdom competition.

King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship Competition uses a rubric to identify the top entrants.

That rubric scores entries based off of certain criteria, including:

Complexity
Materials
Methods
Historicity
Sources

(https://moas.eastkingdom.org/cms/?page_id=514)

This means that there is actually a bias towards well-researched, exceptionally executed, and challenging entries.

This judging process is specifically designed to help judges avoid being distracted by “flashy” portions of an entry.

It’s not that that isn’t welcome. We love seeing pretty entries. By all means smother something in gold and silk and pearls. But! You better make sure it’s all historically appropriate. Because what gets us excited is well-made historical items and research. We are just as excited about a wall of bricks as we are excited about a page from a book of hours.

Still don’t believe me?

Look at our current A&S Champions. They both had research entries that were basically cardboard tri-fold presentations of the research they’ve been working on. Think more like a science fair presentation than something flashy.

Many people would have easily walked by their entries and missed them as something boring. This wow factor was all in the research they’d done.

They won because they specifically went narrow and deep into their subjects. The rubrics helped identify them as competitive entrants otherwise they might have been missed.

I hope that gives you some reassurance that King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship Competition is not about “wow” factor.

Now, there may be some truth to the entry with a “wow” factor winning other competitions.

This might happen where the winner is chosen by popular vote (a popularity contest). Or it might happen in competitions where there are not published judging expectations and guidelines. Or maybe it could happen when the winner is chosen as a Champion for an individual person. A “flashy” entry might do well in these competitions.

What we have seen happening is that many local groups are stepping away from these kinds of competitions and are starting to use the Kingdom rubrics in order to give entrants more balanced feedback.

So. Back to your question.

Please enter in King’s and Queen’s Arts and Sciences Championship Competition! You’re doing work we’d love to see!

And for everyone else, please avoid spreading misconceptions. We are trying to create an inclusive experience that also encourages excellence and research.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.