Arts and Sciences Championships: Barony of Dragon's Laire
A Barony in the Kingdom of An Tir which is
a Part of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA, Inc)
Dragon's Laire Arts and Sciences and Bardic Competitions; Candlemas 2017
ARTS & SCIENCES CHAMPIONSHIP / BARDIC CHAMPIONSHIP: Those wishing to enter the
Baronial A&S or Bardic Championships must send a Letter of Intent to Their
Excellencies AND myself no later than TWELFTH NIGHT. That is roughly a month
away! The Letter of Intent must have the following information in it: Who you
are, your contact information, what you are planning on entering (as much
detail as possible will make it much easier on me for finding judges). If you
have questions, please don't hesitate to let me know. When you send your Letter
of Intent, I will send you a reply indicating that I have received it. If you
don't get a reply, please let me know either here on this public list or via
private message here in Facebook.
SCHOLARS OF DRAGON'S LAIRE: If you are interested in entering a paper to be
considered for inclusion in the Scholars of Dragon's Laire, your letter of
intent is also due at Twelfth Night and your paper is due January 15th. This is
to facilitate its reading and discussion by the current Scholars of Dragon's
Laire. If you have any questions, please ask me or any of the current Scholars
of Dragon's Laire.
I remain, In Service to Dragon's Laire
and An Tir,
Marquessa Laurellen de Brandevin,
Baronial A&S Minister
Sent to the Dragon's Laire Email List on 12/18/2016
The Baronial Arts and Sciences and Bardic Championships
The Baronial Arts and Sciences Championships, including Artisan (Arts and Sciences), Bardic and Scholar, are usually held at Candlemas
in early February.
The following details may change from year to year, but they are generally correct and will help you time your
work for your competition projects.
Letters of Intent Due at 12th Night
All potential competitors, those competing in the Arts and Sciences competition, the Bardic competition, and those submitting papers for
Scholar, need to submit a letter of intent to Their Excellencies and the Baronial
Minister of Arts and Sciences no later than 12th Night. Letters of intent should include which competition you wish to enter and a
description of your entry.
Research/Scholarly Papers Due on 15th January 2017
The due date for the papers is at the discretion of the Arts and Sciences Minister and Their Excellencies Dragon's Laire. In 2017, the
papers are due on the last day of 12th Night, 15th January 2017. This 'early' due date is to allow the judges time to thoroughly read, understand,
and discuss the papers.
Artisan and Bardic Documentation
Artisan (Arts and Sciences) and Bardic competitors must submit their final documentation two weeks prior to the
Questions? Need Help? Want to Take a Class for Help?
If you have questions about the competition requirements
please talk with the Baronial Arts and Sciences
Minister, and/or deputy(s) and the Champions (artisan, bardic and baronial scholars). If there is interest
in classes on the subject, they will be offered again (they were last offered in October 2016). So let the A&S Minister know!
Recently (2016), the A&S Minister undertook to answer some questions about the Championships:
“What IS an A&S Champion or a Bardic Champion?”
At the Baronial level, an Arts & Sciences or Bardic Champion represents their chosen field in the Barony, assists the Baron and Baroness by promoting their chosen field, and help to serve and educate the Baronial populace in their chosen field. This can take the form of sharing knowledge, answering questions about various A&S and Bardic topics, possibly teaching classes or organizing classes, finding teachers, inviting in teachers from outside the Barony, and so forth. It can also take the form of helping to create largess, helping to create clothing for the populace or the Baron & Baroness, helping to create banners for the Barony, or any other effort that assists in promoting the Arts & Sciences and Bardic Arts to and for the Barony and its people.
“I saw the word “Competition” in there. I really don't like to compete with other people.”
The competitions are not actually between people. And they're not between the various entries, either. The competition is mainly between the item entered and how close the entry comes to being similar to the same type of items in period. The winning item is the entry that gains the most points during the judging. So, in essence, the entry is not judged against other entries; rather, it is judged against the period ideal.
“Judging? I definitely don't like to be judged.”
Unfortunately, there is no other metric practiced in the Barony, currently, which assists in choosing the Arts & Sciences or Bardic Champion. But, if it helps, the entrant is not the one being judged, the entry is actually being judged.
“Well... I guess I am intrigued. How does an entry get judged?”
An item is judged based on the Arts & Sciences and Bardic judging forms currently used by the Kingdom. These forms are made up of several different sections which assist the judges in asking the same questions for each entry and scoring each entry on the same metric. In the case of the Arts & Sciences, the judging sheet sections are; Authenticity, Documentation, Technical Ability, Complexity, and Presentation & Display. The Bardic forms are broken down first by the type of Bardic entry (spoken word, instrumental, poetry, etc.) and then contain many of the same sections as the A&S forms; Technical Merit, Difficulty/Complexity, Artistic Merit, Originality, Presentation, Authenticity, and Documentation. Each one of these sections has a range of points with explanations about how the points should be awarded and a section for comments from the judges to the entrant.
“Hey... what is this 'Documentation' of which you speak? That sounds suspicious.”
Documentation is nothing more than a 'who, what, when, where, and why' narrative which is written about the entry. It essentially tells the judges what kind of research was engaged in while creating the item, what period sources were used to create the item, how the item was created, where the item occurred in period, when the item occurred in period, and why it existed. Documentation does not have to be any more complex that this but the documentation should answer these basic questions at the very least. Your documentation should also contain a bibliography of all the books and other sources you used when learning about your entry.
“I hate writing! Can I get someone to help me?”
Yes! As long as they don't write the documentation for you. If they are only there to help you in getting your thoughts down in a coherent manner, checking your grammar and spelling, helping you organize your document, etc., it's perfectly OK to have assistance.
“Well, Documentation doesn't sound too bad.... but, hold on... what is this I see about Presentation? What do you mean by that? Will I have to stand up in front of a bunch of people and talk?!?!”
Unfortunately, yes. You will have to present your entry to a set of judges – probably no more than three. Basically, all you need to do is describe your entry and how you created it. And it helps if you think of the Presentation as a way to educate your judges on what you did – in essence, you will be teaching your judges about your entry. But you can write your presentation out on index cards, on a sheet of paper, or on the back of your hand, if you like. Whatever will help you present your entry is OK.
“Hmmm... I guess this all doesn't sound too bad. So, let's get to the good stuff! What are the perks for being a Champion?!”
One of the best perks for being a Champion is standing behind the Baron and Baroness during Court. That's where all the action happens at Court and you will have a ringside seat! There's also a really snazzy cloak to wear, with the Baronial colors and emblem, proclaiming to all who see it that you are a Champion of Dragon's Laire!
The Arts & Sciences Championship and the Bardic Championship of Dragon's Laire will be, beyond the list in the previous paragraph, exactly what you make of it. Whether you enjoy entertaining, enjoy teaching, or want to represent the Barony in some other way (and there are many other ways) the 'job' will be yours for a year. The privilege and honor of competing to be a Champion of the Might Barony of Dragon's Laire is well worth the effort.
Sent to the Dragon's Laire Email List on 01/03/2016
Results from the Arts and Sciences Championship, 2016
Dragon's Laire had three competitors for the Arts and Sciences Championship this year! And there was another lovely presentation just
given for feedback. HL Arqai, Dame Gwen the Potter, and HL Thangbrand competed for the championship. HL Arqai presented a Chinese Han
Dynasty Crossbow lock, HL Thangbrand presented a 10th Century Norse Twisted Bracelet, and Dame Gwen presented a 6th Century St. Menas
Pilgrim's Flask. For feedback, HL Audney presented her tablet woven brocaded Band from Mammen.
All the presentations were wonderful. We are really looking forward to seeing our presenters develop over the coming years. In the end
Dame Gwen won the championship with her lovely Pilgrim's Flasks!
There was also a Battle Poetry Bardic presentation by HL Ermanric. Magistra Aelianora presented a scholar's paper on 'Roman Army Training'.
HL Annaka presented her paper on 'An Investigation into the Feasibility of Using Gluten-Free Grains and Sourdough Starters to
Re-Create Period Bread Recipes for SCA Feasts'. Dame Madrun presented her scholar's paper on 'The Thorsberg Cloak'. And from afar, there was
a display for THL Nidda's paper, 'A Fool's Life'.
Overview of the Competitions
The Object Competition
This competition paradigm focuses on breadth and depth of knowledge as demonstrated in a single field chosen by the
artisan. For instance, a weaver would demonstrate breadth of knowledge (both intellectually and "in the hands") about
weaving in the medieval period by being able to produce woven objects of some skill from a specific times and place.
They should know what sort of materials were used, how to select the ones proper to the task, what weave structures
were used, and how to produce woven cloth on the tools used in that time and place.
Depth of knowledge would be demonstrated by picking a particular sub-set of the craft, in this case weaving, done in
period, based on what is known about how the people of that time structured their craft divisions, and learning the
skill necessary to produce the entire range of objects within that sub-category. In tablet weaving it would mean
being able to produce bands in all of the medieval techniques to a high degree of skill and to draft designs rather
than just copy the drafts of others.
Once this type of depth is obtained the artisan/scientist is able to create original works that completely embody the
skills and aesthetic used by the artisans/scientists of the SCA-period. The artisan has become a medieval artisan and
is able to move beyond copying extant works and move into the realm of creating original medieval items.
The competition is based on the following core values:
Knowledge and use of period materials, period tools, period processes, and a period aesthetic
competition designed to educate participants in the required skills of their chosen art or science, in the process of
research and documentation, and in identifying and internalizing a sensitivity to the aesthetic of time and place
competition based on an absolute standard of excellence, which is determined by those standards found in medieval
period (as the SCA defines it)
breath of knowledge illustrated by knowledge of the parameters of one's chosen art or science and depth of knowledge
illustrated by a mastery of the skill/craftsmanship required to produce a particular object in that art/science and
the integration of the aesthetics of the time and place in which it occurs
Each competitor will submit one entry consisting of four objects:
one final object that is the competition piece and that is thoroughly documented as to time and place, period
aesthetics, period tools, period materials, and period processes, and
three objects that demonstrate the development or mastery of the skills required to produce the final object.
Presentation should focus on:
skills required to produce the object,
what tools and materials were used to create the object and how the tools and materials differ from period ones,
if they do,
the process of making the object and how it differs from the process used in period, if it does,
and a discussion of the aesthetic sensibility of the time and place as it relates to the object,
the range of variability found for the object in period; what did the usual example of this type of object look like
compared to the most elaborate and sophisticated version of the object.
Judging will be done by a panel of three knowledgeable judges and the assessment made by the judges will follow the
attached judging sheet. The standard against which the entry will be judged is that of similar objects found in the
designated time and place.
The judging sheet will assess the development of skill, the use of period tools, materials and process, the successful
integration/internalization of a medieval aesthetic, and the level of sophistication and elegance the artisan/scientist
has achieved based on the same level achieved by the medieval artisan/scientist.
The competitor will have up to an hour to make an oral presentation to the judges and answer their questions. At the
judges' discretion members of the audience may also ask questions. The judges will then have 45 minutes to deliberate
and fill out the judging forms.
In order to encourage and support a depth based competition the Minister of Arts and Sciences and the Arts and Sciences
At our weekly fight practice we institute a "show and tell" for the artisans that focuses on each artisan talking
about what they are working on, where the idea or model came from, how it might have been done in period, and what
they have learned. This is exactly the kind of information, in written form, that is the basis of documentation.
Keeping notes of one's projects will be encouraged. This helps folks to learn the basics of documentation and
encourages interactive rather than parallel play in the Arts and Sciences community providing support, encouragement,
sharing of knowledge.
Engage the Laurels and the Pearls in being more of a resource to upcoming artisans.
Create a listing of which artisan does what at what level of skill and which of these folks would be willing to mentor,
teach or advise.
The joy of "making" is often lost in the preparation for a competition, although it is the foundation of all artistic
creation. Artisans/scientists should have a place where creativity is a higher value than documentation or
re-construction. Therefore, an A&S tournament for historically-inspired (but not necessarily documentable) objects
will to be held separately from the competition and at a different event thus giving artisans free-reign to express
A person adequately prepared to enter a competition of this type will have come closer to the reality of a medieval
artisan/scientist than is achieved with the current model. In preparing for the competition the participant will
also have learned how to do research, to document, and be well on the way to having mastered a skill. All of which
prepare the person to enter a Kingdom competition if desired.
The Performance Competition
This competition used to be known as the bardic competition.
This competition focuses on the demonstration of both breadth and depth of knowledge and skill of a chosen pre-1650
type of performance art. Breadth of knowledge is demonstrated by choosing an example of a specific performance art,
locating it in a specific time and place, and then contrasting and comparing the chosen example to the same (
or similar) form(s) elsewhere both before and after the chosen time frame. Depth of knowledge is demonstrated by
presenting a performance of how your specific example was done in the chosen time and place.
Each competitor will submit one entry consisting of:
The performance of the chosen example of a performance art that is thoroughly documented as to time and place and
period aesthetics and style.
Three supporting (and shorter) performances that demonstrate either the required skills to adequately perform the
competition piece (e.g. ability to sing on key, the ability to sing the required modes or scales, the ability to sing
or supporting (and shorter) performances that illustrate the variations within time or place of the performance form
you have chosen.
Judging will be done by a panel of three knowledgeable judges. Judges will assess the level of relevant skills
demonstrated in the performances, the use of appropriate aesthetics and performance style, the completeness of the
documentation, and the level of sophistication and elegance the performer achieved. Competitors will be expected to
meet a minimum skill level in order to be eligible to become champion.
Each competitor has up to an hour to make the presentation to the judges and answer their questions. At the discretion
of the judges the audience may also ask questions. The judges will then have 45 minutes to deliberate.
Additionally, each competitor may be asked to perform their competition piece in evening court by Their Excellencies.
This competition focuses on scholarly research, the examination and written presentation of an aspect of pre-1650
culture or history unaccompanied by either a made object or a performance. Research papers should demonstrate both
breadth and depth of knowledge about the chosen topic. Breadth of knowledge is accomplished by locating one's
topic firmly in a specific time and place, and comparing that local knowledge to what happened elsewhere both
before and after the chosen time-frame. Depth of knowledge is demonstrated by presenting the range of what is
known about your topic in your chosen time and place, including conflicting interpretations of the experts,
identification of the limits of what is known, and the speculations of the experts. You, too, may wish to
speculate about unresolved controversies about your topic but it is not required. If you choose to do so be sure
to explain why you have come to the conclusions you present.
Competitors are- required to submit a letter of intent to Their Excellencies and the Arts and Sciences Minister
by the deadline set for the year in which the competition is held, generally sometime in late December or early
January. Drafts of the finished research paper are due to the Arts and Sciences Minister in electronic form, by
the 12th Night before the scheduled competition. Submitted papers will be reviewed by a panel of judges selected
by the A&S Minister and Their Excellencies. Papers will be judged against a set of scholarly standards, not
against each other. A minimum score must be attained to be considered eligible to be presented during the
Championship. Papers that meet the criteria for acceptance will be presented at the Arts and Sciences Championship
competition, with each presenter having 45 minutes to present.
Since it is the intent of the competition to build a community of scholars within the Barony, every competitor
who is accepted to present their paper at the Championships (and does so) will be named a Scholar of Dragon's
Length: approximately 2200 words (roughly 5 pages of text without illustrations).
Font and spacing: 12-point font and either 1.5 or double-spaced.
Margins: 1' top, bottom and sides. Number all pages except the title page.
Bibliography: A list of everything you read, including the references you have cited. This can be annotated but
it is not required.
Citation style: There are many to pick from. Choose one and stick to it. Illustrations: illustrations, tables,
and figures should be numbered consecutively (figure 1, illustration 1, table 1) and referred to in the text the