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Watch Lists, Recommendations, and Awards

Poster: SheehanTA@aol.com

Gentle Friends and Cousins on Cheapside,

It occured to me in all the discussion of who should get awards and why, that
many people are unaware of just how the process of achieving an award works.
 As a former principal of the Pearls and current to the Laurels, I thought I
might offer a little information on the subject.  My comments are
specifically on the A&S side of the fence.

There are many artisans in Atlantia and the process of coming to an order's
attention is complex.  Sometimes the person does a particularly noticeable
display at an A&S exhibit (12th Night being the largest of these).  Sometimes
there is an interesting article in The Oak.  Sometimes it is through a class
at University.  Sometimes they just wander about in excellent clothing or set
up a camp to die for or give a 12th Night gift that cannot be ignored or
donate an article to a fundraiser that excites great interest or give a
public performance of song, music, or dance, etc., etc.  People then begin to
take notice of that person's work.

The next step might be leaping a chasm for all the more it is done.  An
admirer of the artisan brings the artisan's name to the attention of the
order and/or royalty.  The principal and/or Crown is contacted and specific
information is given.  The kind of recommendation that receives the most
attention is when the artisan's name (both SCA and mundane), home group, and
specific skill is listed.  Saying Lady Vox sings well is okay, but saying
Lady Vox (Jane Whoever) of That Barony is expert in gregorian chant and
teaches once a week in her home is far more effective.  The order and/or
Crown than know who and for what the recommendation is being made.

This type of recommendation is not made nearly often enough.  I cannot count
the number of times a name came up in conversation that someone thought
deserved a Pearl or Laurel, but then nothing concrete was done.  Just because
you talked to an order member does not mean a recommendation has been made.
 It is very easy for a conversation to slip someone's mind between then and
the next order meeting.  Order meetings happen around twice a year as
mandated by kingdom law, although sometimes more often.  A written
recommendation makes it to the watch list if the principal is doing his/her
job.  Verbal ones are far more uncertain, although many get made during order
meetings, but I again I note that happens twice a year or so and also that
the complete order does not attend.  In Atlantia, all gentlefolk have the
privilege of making recommendations.  It is not restricted to order members.

When the order meets, it reviews the watch list and makes recommendations to
the Crown for polling.  The Crown may accept or decline any names at Their
discretion and add any names They choose.  The Crown is not obligated to hold
a polling if the order requests one, but may request a polling at any time
They choose.  Kingdom law requires that a polling either be mailed or, if not
possible, announced sufficiently in advance that interested members can meet
for a verbal polling.  Pollings happen about two to four times a year.

Almost all pollings are by mail.  A polling is sent out to those members of
the order on the mailing list, not to all members of the order.  While all
order members have the right to participate in pollings, only those who
actively request to do so are included.  The mailing list consists of those
who have sent in self-addressed stamped envelopes in the case of the Pearls.
 In the case of the Laurels, a polling is mailed to any Laurel who requests
to be on the mailing list and/or who has not failed to respond to the past
three pollings.

After a polling is taken, Their Majesties decide on who should be given the
award.  The Crown has the right to make the award even if every response on
the polling is negative, as well as not making the award if every response is
positive.  The time and place of the award is entirely up to Their Majesties
as well.  The results of the polling are good for the remainder of the reign
in which it was taken and the entirety of the next reign.

As you may infer from the long-winded description above, it may be many
months between when a recommendation is made, when (or if) a polling is
considered, and when (or if) the award is made.  In dealing with orders, I
counsel patience and persistence.  The process can be a long one, but is
usually ultimately successful for worthy candidates.  A few good ones may be
missed, and a few bad ones may not be, but on the whole it works.  Don't
think the orders are deliberately ignoring anyone.  Be sure that if a name is
on the watch lists, it gets discussed at some point.  The trick is making
sure that it is on the watch list.

One final note: my attitude on the watch list is that the infomation is
private to the order, but not secret.  If you have a question regarding an
individual, I suggest you ask the principal whether that name is on the watch
list or not.  They may not reveal the exact contents, but they will tell you
if comments are needed.

Begging your forgiveness for such a bureaucratic intrusion.

Mistress Deirdre O'Siodhachain

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