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Re: Competitions/Displays

Poster: David KUIJT <kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu>

I wrote:

> >But competitions are stupid anyway.  Don't enter competitions.  The 
> vast
> >majority of them are too much work for the judges, torture for the
> >entrants, and a very poor way of getting either feedback or 
> recognition.

Which caused Anarra to disagree with my statements (or at least the first

I (deliberately) overstated my case.  Some competitions are very
interesting; some are neat and keen.  Many are not.  The original post had
to do with entering reversible garb in a competition and how well it would

Too many people in the SCA try to get something out of A&S competitions
that the competition cannot give.

A&S competitions are only one small fraction of participation in the arts.
People should enter them with an understanding of their limitations, and
with clear objectives in their own minds.

If you want useful feedback and constructive criticism, don't go to an A&S
competition.  Approach a knowledgable person in your subject area, arrange
a suitable time and place, and spend half an hour talking with them about
your artifact, your research, and so on.  In an A&S competition one to
three judges will spend 1-5 minutes skimming your documentation and
looking at your item, then make a snap judgement, and if you are lucky
write down a paragraph or two of comments. That's all they CAN do -- they
are looking at 10-20 items, and they only have two hours to do it in, so
more than 6 minutes per item is impossible.

If you want recognition, A&S competitions are only one way to get it.
Many people get a Laurel without ever participating in an A&S competition.
Me, for example.  More people pay attention if you teach a good class at
University than do if you win an A&S competition.

If you want to reach other people and transmit your knowledge and
enthusiasm, teach a class at University, rather than entering an A&S

If you want to learn specific things, _take_ a class at University, where
you will get a much more focussed lesson than walking around inspecting
A&S entries. 

If you want your artifact "evaluated", don't go to a competition.  The
organizers of A&S competitions move heaven and earth to try and get good
judges for their categories, but they are not universally successful.  If
your artifact is good, strange, or far off the beaten path, the chance
that the (well-intentioned and overworked) judge will be able to give you
an accurate and objective number that quantifies your artifact's worth in
the 4-8 minutes allocated to it is small.  If you want to get a
quantitative evaluation, seek out an appropriate judge yourself, outside
the arena of a competition, and ask them for an assessment.  Lots of
people do this to me; I am never offended.

A&S competitions aren't bad things, and Anarra is correct to say that
calling them "stupid" is an overstatement.  But in the SCA people often
enter them with poorly-defined expectations, and end up disappointed. 

There is no _need_ to enter reversible clothing in a competition, unless
it is a competition for reversible clothing and you like competitions.

Dafydd ap Gwystl
many times judge in many competitions,
	so I know how often the judge is in over his depth

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