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Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Articles * Autocratting a Kingdom Collegium

Autocratting a Kingdom Collegium

How to Carry a Clipboard
By Lady Eden Blacksmith

What is written below is not meant to be the last and only word on how a collegium should be run. For, each collegium is different and you will need to see what works for you and your group. Below are observations, personal experiences, and input from the survey on the Taking and Teaching of Classes.

"Ask First!"

The decision to autocrat a Kingdom event is not something does with out support. You will need the backing of your group for this endeavor. You will need their approval for you will use their resources.

If you belong to a Barony you will need the support of your Baron and Baroness.

If you belong to a Shire you will need the support of your Seneschal and Officer Core.

If you belong to an Incipient Shire or College you will need the support of your Seneschal and Officer Core, and approval of sponsoring group.

This support will come in many ways; the first being personal. The second can be financial support.

There are basically two ways set-up monies is determined on a Kingdom event level:

  1. The Kingdom fronts all monies.
  2. The group fronts all monies.

Than after all is paid as should any profit is split between the group and the Kingdom. There are other ways this money arraignment can take place; it is suggested that your groups Exchequer and the Kingdom Exchequer work out a plan that fits your groups needs the best.

If possible I suggest the arraignment that has your group fronting all the money, it seems to be the easiest in the accounting process.

Keep notes on everyone you talk to....never think you will remember.

In many cases you will be limited on where site is. Some considerations:

  • How many classrooms are you going to need. What are the power needs for each class?
  • Food: is that being brought or made on site?
  • Populace: they will need a place (Do not forget the children need a place to gather.)
  • Court: is there going to one, when, where? Is there a ready room? Will they need a Scribes room (scriptorium)?
  • Outside classes: Is there space, restrictions....
  • Special needs: is there (and can you use them) overhead projectors, TV/VCR, boards with chalk or markers, running water......
  • Parking: can the site handle the expected number of cars?
  • Incidentals: what are the site’s policies on smoking, alcohol, weapons, merchants, have extra toilet paper

Thank everyone in advance, at the event and afterwards.

You: Do not teach, take a class (unless you have that time covered by deputy) or leave site. While at first you might think you will have nothing to do once Collegium as started; you are wrong. Your goal is to be somewhat bored once the event is under way.

A Deputy: Someone who knows what is happening so that in the case that you can not make it that day the show goes on. Also, you can not be more than one place at a time (though there will be those who think you can.)

Site Deputy: While much of site consideration will be done by you, having someone in charge of moving tables and chairs, setting up Court, helping people unload, making sure that everything is back the way it belongs. Have the site-deputy make drawings of rooms where the furniture was moved around. That way they know how it goes back. The site-deputy will also need to arrange for a clean-up crew. Having this person will ensure that you do not have a nervous breakdown.

Troll: Since you can not handle the money, you will need an experienced Troll. Make sure they have everything they need...wavers, extra help, pens, chocolate...

Feast/Snack Deputy: Are you providing refreshments? Where, when, how much....

Children's Deputy: Each Group/Kingdom has their own history on how to deal with the children.

The main point is make sure this person has lots of help and I mean lots of help. Parents should be told they must spend at least 2 hours with their children helping out.

Herald: Arrange for a Herald services before the day.

Personal Deputy: This is the person who will make sure you eat, drink, take potty breaks. You might think you will not need this person; wrong!

Each of these people will need to find their own staff.

Communication is your responsibility.

There are as many ways to schedule the Collegium as there are people attending.

Rule # 1: You will NEVER be able to make everybody happy.

Rule# 2: There will be things you wish you had done differently.

How many classes will depend on number of class rooms divided by teacher responses with considerations of Set up time, Court, Lunch and Site cleanup.

For example:

  • you have 5 class rooms (tracks)
  • Setup crew at 7:30am
  • Site opens 8:30am
  • Court starts 9am (Note: some Crowns are very good about keeping to schedule and some are not. Be prepared to juggle classes in the event that court runs over-long.)
  • 1st class starts 10am with last class ending at 5pm

So that is a maximum of 24 classes (slots) (if each are an hour) with an hour off for lunch

Closing Court at 5pm with site closing at 6pm (so we can be out of there by 7pm)

If you think of each class room as a Track and each class hour as a slot it will help you in arraigning the schedule.

Knowing exactly how many tracks and slots you have will keep you from over booking and knowing when you have an open slot. Try to have an extra room for emergencies and a place for troll and other staff to gather.

When looking for teachers have a set of questions ready to ask.

  • SCA Name
  • Mundane Name
  • all contact information
  • How long is the class?
  • Size limit?
  • Is this class for everybody or is it suggested for beginners or advanced or 12 and above........
  • Class fee?
  • Class requirements: needles, pliers, paper, gloves, close fitting clothes......
  • What special needs does the teacher have: water, good light, tables, away from other classes......
  • Does the teacher have a time they can not teach?

Talk to the teacher about what kind of class this is. Knowing as much as you can on what is needed for and from the teacher is vital to a peaceful Collegium.

Do not assume all your teachers will contact you, while some will, most are waiting to be asked.

Invitations to teach should go out as many months in advance as possible.

Ask out of kingdom subject experts to teach.

Use the Atenveldt teachers Directory to pursue teachers.

Let each teacher have a 5 min warning that their class time is up.

Let your teachers know the schedule ASAP

Let your teachers know about schedule changes ASAP

Confirm that they know about latest schedule

It is hoped that you will know a month before the event what the schedule is.

You should know within 72 hours of the event what the schedule is.

You must know within 24 hours of the event what the schedule is.

You will only know what the absolute and final schedule is till after event is over.

A good rule of thumb with a one day Collegium is do not have any teacher take more than 3 slots...what if that teacher is unable to make it that day?

Unless it is a theme Collegium think Variety!

After you have enough classes to fill your slots look at them and arrange them by type of class.

You will also have to take into consideration if you have a teacher teaching more than one class.

Let us take our example above:

  • 24 slots
  • 8 of them are two hour classes
  • 8 of them are one hour classes
  • You still have 5 tracks
  • and now you have 16 classes

Now you can play around a bit...keeping in mind that:

  • You can not put similar classes against each other ....those who do blackwork will want to take the crewel class and those who attend the Rapier class will be very upset if at the same time is a class on Making of Rapier Gear.....
  • If a teacher as been teaching for two hours they will most likely need an hour break before their next class.
  • A teacher can not teach two classes at one time. (Trust me you will schedule it this way just once.)
  • You will have some teachers who can only teach in the morning or are only coming on site after lunch.
  • You will have teachers who beg you not to schedule their class against another (while, you may try and honor their request understand that you may not be able to.)
  • Some classes can not be held in close proximity...a metal working class next door to the signing class.
  • If you have an hour lunch it would be advisable to put part two of a class or a proven class right after lunch. Make sure the teacher doesn’t mind having their class broken up.
  • Dancers may be upset if their class is right after lunch.
  • You will need to keep the classes that need special things running water, TV/VCR in that class room.

As you can see it is enough to make a grown Viking cry.

A suggestion:
Look at your tracks as theme tracks, because similar classes will have similar needs

  • A dancing track
  • A messy hands on track (like painting, papermaking, lampworking......)
  • A fighter's track
  • A Lecture track
  • A non_ messy hands on track (like needlework, lace....)

By looking at the tracks you can fit your slots into appropriate class rooms that will most likely have what the teacher needs.

It will also keep a running tally in your head if the Collegium is filling up to much in one class topic.

By looking at what type of classes you have already you can look for different type of classes to fill in the schedule’s holes.

Advertise your event.

First and foremost: SIGNS, please let me say that again; signs, you will need signs

Signs for:

The site: on the way to the site, at the front of the site.....nothing is worse than driving around a strange city looking for the event, knowing you are now late, and not seeing a sign.

Do not forget giving EXCELLENT directions in all advertisements.

At Event: to the bathroom, classes, Troll, Court, Populace area, Children's area...... Since, Kindergarten we have been taught to follow not assume that we will know where to go.

A site without signs is rude. In my opinion it says that you should only be here if you have been here before and that the staff does not care about your needs.

A clipboard: Make a copy of the schedule ..this clipboard will be your life line...keep it with you. Keep notes on it. I have noticed that people will listen to the person with the clipboard.

Site Tokens
"I got this one at......"

With all the decisions you will need to make; site tokens is one area where your imagination can be set free. Since this is a Kingdom event you are free the use the Atenveldt device.

Murder is illegal.

Please, know that no matter how well you plan events will transpire to test your level of planning and sanity.

For Example:

  • Court time has to be changed (again).
  • 99 cars make it to the event the one car that does not as 4 of your teachers in it.
  • There are classes taking place in the rooms you have paid for in advance (happened to me at Kingdom Collegium).
  • The lady on duty was not briefed by her boss that people would have daggers (happened to me at Kingdom Collegium...she wanted to shut us down).
  • Your printer breaks down the night before the event.
  • There will be no one there to let you into site.
  • Four people get in a fistfight in the main hall and break a 100 year old vase belonging to the Church (I will not report which Kingdom it happened in)

I do not report these things to scare you. Instead, it is to let you know that after the event starts, in many ways it becomes its own entity. All you can do is try to plan for all contingencies.

Remember, that the bathroom can be your shield wall....if you are beginning to feel that murder is period and forgetting that these people are here because they want to be.....go to the bathroom and take a moment.

As in all things listen to the advice and do what you feel is right. Each, Collegium will come with its own challenges and you will have to adept.

In the end (after a rest) you will be planning on what you will do next time.

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