The West Kingdom hosts a wide range of arts and sciences (A&S) activities every year, and there are a variety of exciting ways for you to participate. If you're new to the SCA, or just new to these activities, getting started can be a little confusing. This handbook is designed to answer your questions and set you on your path to creativity. Let this handbook be your guide to:
These activities are open to everybody, and we encourage you to participate!
Arts & Sciences competitions are held at all Crown Tournament and Coronation events, and also at the annual Arts & Sciences Tournament. The competitions are drawn from four general categories:
Each year four or more competitions are held in each of these categories. This year we will hold two competitions (one Art and one Science) at each Crown and Coronation event, and an additional eight competitions during the Arts & Sciences Tournament weekend. That provides a total of 20 opportunities for you to compete. A list of this year's competitions is provided later in this handbook.
Participation requirements are very flexible: you can enter any competition you choose, you can enter as many competitions as you like, and you can enter as many works in each competition as you wish.
Participating in a competition is a fairly simple process. First, check the Competition Calendar in the Page to get your instructions (time limitations, themes, etc.). Next, hit the books, do some research on the topic, and outline a few pages of documentation. Complete your project, then write up your documentation. If you have any questions about the competition, feel free to contact either the Kingdom Arts or Sciences Officer (we're listed in the back of the Page under "Kingdom Officers"). We'll either answer your questions ourselves, or put you in touch with a mentor to help you prepare.
Documentation is an important part of the competition because it's your opportunity to tell the judges about the work you've done.
Here are some tips for good documentation:
Our standard drop-off deadline is 1 PM on the Saturday of the event (unless otherwise posted). The drop-off location is the Arts & Sciences pavilion. The pavilion is usually located on the eric (which is the oval field in the center of the event), and is usually flying an A&S banner (showing the harp or the calipers), so it's easy to locate. All pieces submitted by the drop off deadline will be judged.
To enter the competition, just sign up for each entry on the appropriate sign-in sheet. Your piece will be assigned a number-any work that isn't numbered is considered to be a display piece only and will not be judged. All items may be picked up after 5:00PM. Judging sheets may be picked up after the results have been announced in court. If the piece is not picked up by the end of the event (when the A&S pavilion is taken down), it will be turned over to Lost and Found.
For performance pieces, entrants must sign up in the A&S pavilion by 1 PM on the Saturday of the event. The competition time will be posted on the board in the front of the pavilion. Show up on time for your performance, ready to go.
If there are three or more entrants in a competition, the winner is the entry with the highest score. If there are less than three entries, the winner is the entry with the highest score over 66% of the available points (which is currently the highest score over 35). If there is only one entry, the entry will be judged, but there will be no competition - but the points will count towards the Golden Poppy.
We make every effort to find judges who are knowledgeable about the particular topic of the competition, but we are limited to those individuals present at the event and available at the time of the competition.
Judges are asked to sign their names on the judging sheets, and all judging sheets are returned to the entrants. We consider judging forms to be private, so they will be returned directly to the entrant, and are not available for perusal by other entrants or by the populace. If the entrant does not pick them up, they can be retrieved from the appropriate A&S Officer at a subsequent event.
The winners of each competition are recognized in Court at the event, and are rewarded with the A&S token. They are also recognized in the Page in the A&S column.
The token bears the symbol as shown here on the A&S badge.
Badge image by Mikhail of Lubelska
In addition to entering individual competitions, you are also encouraged to strive for the Annual Arts and Sciences Championship. This yearlong competition challenges you to be both well-rounded and enthusiastic!! The Championship begins at March Crown and finishes at the following Twelfth Night. Participation in the Championship is simple, because it's automatic - every time you enter an individual competition, your entries are also counted towards your score in the Annual A&S Championship. The winner of the Championship at the end of the year is the person who meets the following qualifications:
Over the course of a year, each challenger for the Championship is required to enter one piece in each of the four competition categories (fine arts, performing arts, technical sciences, and practical sciences), PLUS four additional pieces in the categories of their choice for a total of 8 competitions.
To win the Championship, you do not need to win each individual competition that you enter, you just need to earn at least half of the available points in a competition in order for it to count towards your total score in the Championship. In each individual competition, each judge can award up to 35 points, and there are 3 judges, so there are 105 total points available; each entry must earn at least 53 points to qualify for the Annual Championship.
Note that you are NOT limited to entering only 8 competitions during the year, you can enter as many as you like to improve your chances, however, only your 8 top scores (including the four from the required categories) will be counted towards your final score for the Championship.
After the final competition at Twelfth Night, the scores are tallied and the winner is announced in Court where they are named "Royal Artisan" and inducted into the Order of the Golden Poppy. They will be garbed with the cloak and medallion of the Order, which are theirs to wear until the following Twelfth Night. During the following year, it is the Royal Artisan's duty to help promote Arts and Sciences within the Kingdom by teaching classes and encouraging others to enter the A&S competitions.
The A&S Tournament is a weekend-long camping event held every Summer. It offers activities such as hands-on classes, group activities, and A&S displays, as well as Page School classes and activities for children. (Contact the Page School Chancellor for details about children's events.) At this event, classes try to focus on learning through hands-on activities in arts and crafts.
In the evening there will be bardic opportunities. Please bring your musical instruments and bardic inspiration to share. There will be classes and opportunities to present your works should you choose to perform. There will also be an enthusiastic and welcoming audience to provide the necessary encouragement.
The event is autocrated by the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Officers. If you have any questions about the event, or would like to volunteer to teach a class, please contact them, they're listed in the back of the Page under Kingdom Officers.
Rules for the Eight-Legged Race are essentially the same as for the individual Annual A&S Championship described above, except that you get to share the work with friends and enjoy being part of a team effort.
Each team should consist of two to four people. Work can be divided up any way the team wishes. It's not necessary for every teammate to have a hand in every project-even projects that are solo efforts can be entered in competitions on behalf of the team. It's all up to you and your team.
Each team can submit as many entries to a competition as they wish, the only limitation is that each entry can only count towards a single team. So if Lady Jane l'Artiste joins two teams and then submits one entry for a competition, the points for the entry can only be credited to one of her teams, not both.
At the end of the A&S event, the team with the highest cumulative score wins, providing they meet the category requirements outlined under the A&S Championship rules.
Teams must be registered with the Arts and Sciences Officers at the time of their first competition entry. You should provide a list of teammates and a team name. Participating as part of a team does not prevent individuals from also participating in the Annual A&S Championship. If you want to do both, please contact either the Arts or Sciences Officer in advance to discuss additional details.
Documentation requirements for teams are the same as for individuals, except that you should also provide a separate page that details how each person contributed to the entry. This page should not be physically attached to the documentation, because your entry must remain anonymous while it is being judged. This information is largely to satisfy the curiosity of the A&S Officers-we'd like to see how you are managing the work and building team spirit.
Want to show just what an artistic stud you really are?? This is the competition for you!!
As part of the annual calendar of competitions, there will be eight separate competitions held at the Arts and Sciences Tournament. While you may already be planning to enter one or more of these competitions, we'd like to encourage you to do even more!! Therefore, we will reward those individuals who make a Herculean effort specifically for this event. We will recognize:
Typically there are a few large scale Arts and Sciences displays
each year. This year, all are invited to participate by contributing
their work to the displays. Additionally, we will have displays each
Sunday after kingdom crown and coronation events
Collegium Occidentalis is an indoor event in a classroom setting. It's a wonderful opportunity to catch slide shows or attend classes that are difficult to teach in a camping environment. Saturday at this event usually concludes with a feast and dancing.
The event is held twice each year. The autocrat for this event is listed in the back of the Page under Kingdom Officers, beneath the Seneschal listing. Please contact them if you have any questions, or wish to volunteer to help with the event.
The West Kingdom has several active Groups and Guilds who are always ready to welcome new members. They are listed in the back of the kingdom newsletter "The Page".
The Guilds are chartered organizations within the SCA that promote a particular craft or skill. The contact person for each Guild is listed in the back of the Page.
Throughout the year, the Kingdom Guilds hold meetings and demonstrations at events. Some of the Guilds have their own pavilions, and some of them share the space in the Arts and Sciences pavilion. When a Guild is scheduled to Host the A&S pavilion, they will have a meeting, hold a class, and put on a display-you are welcome to visit the pavilion during any of these activities.
The Pied d'Argent, which studies and teaches dance, and the Wooden Spoon, which promotes cooking, are Groups within the West Kingdom. Unlike the Guilds, these Groups do not have Charters. These Groups hold their own competitions and meetings at West Kingdom events, and you are invited to participate in all their activities.
Note: While we encourage you to participate in all these Group and Guild activities, please be aware that points or awards earned in Group and Guild contests do not count toward the Annual A&S Championship.