Arts & Sciences at Twelfth Night

The second session of judging for A&S at Twelfth Night in Montengarde

The second session of judging for A&S at Twelfth Night in Montengarde

After a year and ten months serving as Montengarde’s A&S champion (Emerald Rose) I was happy to host the competition to find my replacement at Twelfth Night.

Montengarde is the name of the Barony in the SCA – it’s the mundane city of Calgary, Alberta.

The competition

I had four individuals enter for the chance to win the honour of being the next Emerald Rose. Each of these individuals offered two entries. Additionally I had three single-entry

One of the two sessions in the second half of the A&S competition at Twelfth Night in Montengarde.

One of the two sessions in the second half of the A&S competition at Twelfth Night in Montengarde.

competitors. These individuals were looking for the chance to show their work and get feedback, but were not competing for the title. Entries included:

  • Hand-woven leg wraps
  • Beeswax candles
  • A research paper on Anglo-Saxon culinary
  • Flatbread
  • Skyr
  • Briw (a cooked stew kind of dish)
  • Tallow candles
  • A block-printed garment
  • An Italian gown
  • English knitting
  • A Tarim Basin outfit
Many people came to hear the presentations - beyond just the judges at the A&S competition at Twelfth Night in Montengarde.

Many people came to hear the presentations – beyond just the judges at the A&S competition at Twelfth Night in Montengarde.

I was really excited at how many entries there were, and how many of them were culinary entries. While culinary isn’t an area I’m particularly well-researched in, I have heard over and over how it’s one of the more difficult subject areas to compete in (alongside research papers and bardic entries) and so I’m super-impressed that the participants opted to put their efforts into this for the competition!

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Judges needed!

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials, with my device banner on the end

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials

As some of you living in Calgary or the SCA Kingdom of Avacal know, I’m hosting the competition to find my replacement as Montengarde’s Arts & Science champion at Twelfth Night, on January 21, 2017.

With that… I’m looking for judges!

Information about the competition (format, rubric, judging forms, etc) can be found here. You will note that the format is collaborative and supportive; I’m hoping that all of the judges can help competitors strive towards their best, can encourage amazing arts & sciences, and assist student judges (if applicable) to learn more about the process and participate to the level of their comfort.

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Why to enter an A&S competition..

… challenge, or tournament

Photos of the Laurel's New Works display

Photos of the Laurel’s New Works display

As you might know, I’m hosting a few SCA A&S (Arts & Science competitions) this year, and one of the questions/concerns I’ve heard from people is “Why should I enter?” (often followed by a silent: “…if I don’t think I can win?”)

I’m in NO way an expert on this… I’m still pretty new to the SCA, and haven’t travelled outside of Avacal to see how things are done elsewhere. Still, I’ve been to, judged, and competed in a few competitions, and have some suggestions and things to think about…and this is my soapbox! 😉

Winning is cool

Yeah, It’s cool to win anything. Let’s get that out of the way right away. It’s cool to do your thing, have other people say your thing is awesome, and win an award or title or prize for how good you did your thing…

…but there’s more to it than that.

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17 bundles of 7

The Largess Challenge I hosted at the Festival of the Snow Eaters went wonderfully – between 5 individuals, there were 17 bundles of 7 donated items.

  • Sigfus
  • Sarah
  • Magy
  • Violente
  • and myself

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How to be an awesome A&S judge

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials, with my device banner on the end

A&S display at Avacal Sergeant Trials, with my device banner on the end

As you might know, I’m hosting a few SCA A&S (Arts & Science competitions) this year, and I’ve found in the past that finding judges can be very challenging. Judges play a huge role in the success of a competition though, and we need them! In this post I’ll try to address how to be an awesome judge – even if you don’t always feel like you’re qualified to judge other people’s work.

I’m in NO way an expert on this… I’m still pretty new to the SCA, and haven’t travelled outside of Avacal to see how things are done elsewhere. Still, I’ve been to, judged, and competed in a few competitions, and have some suggestions and things to think about…and this is my soapbox! 😉

Are you qualified?

For some levels of competition, expert judges ARE very valuable. However, even at the highest level of competition, one competitor doesn’t need a whole panel of expert judges in their subject matter. They need judges who can assess their project, their research, their documentation, and their presentation – you don’t need to be a textile expert to assess if someone’s textile presentation is compelling and informative!

Generally an organizer will look for a judge who can offer special insight into the type of project they’ve done, another who will offer insight into the culture they’re examining, and a third who might be valuable in assessing documentation, research, or presentation/display skills.

At other competitions, experts are still valuable – as they can offer additional resources, guidance, suggestions, and advice to competitors, but they’re not necessary. One of the competition styles I’ve been using is a ’round table’ discussion format – where ALL competitors and judges sit together, and ask questions, offer advice, etc – so you don’t need to be a subject-matter expert at all to assist.

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