The short answer is YES. However, in other ways this can be a complicated question that can be approached from a few different angles. I’ve included two quotes below summarizing the questions I have heard people ask about this topic, along with a response to each question.
“I’ve heard that Laurels are not supposed to enter because they already received accolades in their art and now it’s time to let others shine.”
Crown’s A&S Championships (like all Kingdom champions events), is a “high-level competition where the focus is on picking the kingdom arts and sciences champions.” So, to answer this question, I want to first make a comparison. Knights and MoDs compete in their kingdom championship events. So why shouldn’t Laurels compete in Crowns A&S?
First, a Companion of the Order of the Laurel is presumed to have “attained the standard of excellence” in their artistic field, just like martial peers are expected to have attained excellence in their fields, so not having Laurels enter Crowns A&S would mean that our artisans may not be competing against the best in the kingdom. The East has some of the best artisans in the Known World, and our A&S Championship deserves to be a competition among the best of the best. Going further, as in martial activities, competing against a peer who as attained that standard of excellence gives artisans an opportunity to show off their skill and acomplishments.
Now, It is true that it is a Laurel’s job to look out for other artisans, to promote them and help them shine, but our Laurels are also still artisans in their own right and may benefit from the external motivation and pressures that a competition presents. Perhaps a Laurel has never competed in a Crowns A&S Competition before, and wants to try something new. It is important for every artisan to find new ways to keep challenging themselves as they grown in experience with their craft.
Going further along this line, just because someone has been elevated to the Laurel, does not mean that they posess the skills to do well in a competition like Crowns A&S. The qualities that are looked for in a Companion of the order of the Laurel are different (if overlaping) from that required of a high level competition entran. Also, a new project may often be just as hard for a laurel as for someone who is not a laurel,especially if they are experimenting with a new art, so the playing field is not as uneven as it may seem.
Finally, entering a competition would mean that other artisans would have the opportunity to see this Laurel’s work and talk to them about it, a process which enriches and teaches everyone.
“I’ve heard that Laurels are not supposed to enter because they are needed to judge the competition.”
It is not currently an expectation that all Laurels will help judge the Crowns A&S competition.
Judging competitions is hard, and not everyone may be suited for the job. Some Laurels may also have had bad experiences judging competitions in the past (just like some artisans may have had negative experiences entering), and this would naturally further increase their reluctance to judge. While the MoAS office is trying to help train judges and provide structures to make the process easier, some Laurels may not want to give judging another try. And that is ok.
Furthermore, the potential judging pool for Crowns A&S champions is currently much wider than just members of the Order of the Laurel. Because we have undertaken to provide training materials for judges and create a more standardized rubric for the kingdom competition, we can now much more easily have some judges that are not “experts in their field” help with the judging process. This means that you do not have to have a specific A&S award to judge or shadow judge. The MoAS office will work with artisans on an individual basis to help determine their level of familiarity with the rubric and judging process. It is important to remember that the skills that makes a good judge may not necessarily be the same skills that make a great Laurel. Judging is very much a learned skill, and while the qualities of a good judge sometimes overlap with those of a Laurel, they don’t overlap all the time.
Now, this does not mean that we don’t need any expert judges, we very much do. Once registration ends, the MoAS office will be reaching out to relevant experts for their assistance. Its just that every judge doesn’t need to be a specialist to do a reasonable job.
If you are interested in helping to judge the Crowns A&S Competition more information and a form to fill out can be found at this link: https://moas.eastkingdom.org/…/crow…/judge-registration/
Also, as a reminder, registration to display or enter Crown’s A&S is due by Dec. 13th. More information can be found here: https://moas.eastkingdom.org/display…/crowns-as-champions/