[Bards] What is a College ( of Bards)

John H Taylor delaufyson at juno.com
Wed Oct 25 11:21:46 PDT 2006

What I think what  some of you are missing  is  a "College of Bards" is
Like  a "College of Heralds". It is a fellowship not  a university. By
having this conversation we are proving at the Ansteorra College of Bards
is alive and well. In our fellowship it is good to have some order. It is
good for us to organize learning experiences and to create performing
venues. When we Creates The Queen's Bards our purpose was to give a
little bit of order to our Chaos. We had individuals who had the role to
promote learning and performing situations, We created educational 
information like papers and newsletters. We encouraged the gathering of
Bards and the sharing of information. We set guidelines to assist bards
in growing, but the rankings didn't turn out too well. To hard to get
right. To many hurt feelings.  The guidelines were useful because It gave
individuals goals. Our Guile lines were actually harder than the
Laurel's. I think that was so because we were talking about what skills
an individual really needed to be a functioning bard in the Ancient
Historical style not an SCA scholar. Our personal goals were to function
as bards in our Kingdom and we gathered in fellowship to achieve our
goals. I could see us recreating the Queen's Bards but not as an
University but as our fellowship.
Willow de Wisp

On Wed, 25 Oct 2006 09:51:38 -0500 "Jay Rudin" <rudin at ev1.net> writes:
> Michael Silverhands wrote:
> > To play "devil's advocate":
> >
> > Who would comprise the teachers in the College? Wouldn't it have 
> to
> > be our experienced bards? If the experienced bards aren't 
> mentoring
> > new bards now (I'm not saying they are or aren't, just posing a
> > hypothetical question), how would having a Kingdom College of 
> Bards
> > change that?
> Mentoring a College is different.  Yes, I have apprentices, and will 
> teach 
> anyone I can.  But I don't have a Bardic Colloquium as in 1988, or 
> an Autumn 
> Fires event as in 1990 (or so) or meetings of bards or other easy 
> opportunities to help lots of bards together.
> > Wouldn't it be just as effective (and a lot less politics) for the
> > experienced bards to just get off their collective duffs and 
> teach?
> > Go to events? Host bardic circles? Host workshops? (None of that 
> is
> > particularly one-on-one, it's more like one-to-many.)
> No, it isn't.  I'm not sure why, but it was easier when there was a 
> College 
> to use.  Clearly, a college is a good tool for creating 
> collegiality.
> > If that isn't happening now, how can we encourage it to happen? 
> (Note
> > I didn't say "...make it happen". I don't see anyone making any
> > Ansteorran do anything that they didn't want to do.) Would having 
> a
> > College structure encourage it? Or do we just need to do what 
> we're
> > doing right now -- shining a light on the problem and deciding to 
> do
> > something about it?
> Having a college gives us a time and place to encourage it.  If I 
> want to 
> hold a bardic event, I'm alone in a room.  There's a lot of legwork 
> and time 
> just to find out if anyone's interested.  But if I'm in a college 
> meeting 
> and I suggest it, I have an autocrat, a bunch of committed teachers, 
> and a 
> large group of people excited about it within three minutes.  (This 
> is an 
> actual example, and how we came to hold the Bardic Colloquium in 
> Black Lake 
> in 1988.)
> > Note that I'm not particularly advocating either position. Just, 
> as I
> > said, playing "devil's advocate" to hear your thoughts.
> Good questions.  Here are some of the answers.  Note that I am not 
> trying to 
> invent some theoretical explanation, merely reporting what I've 
> actually 
> seen.  Here's the data:
> 1. When the College was active, the number and presence of 
> Ansteorra's bards 
> was growing.  Since the College died, it has shrunk.  There were 
> nearly 
> always performing opportunities at all events.
> 2. In 1991, at TFYC, Ansteorrans won nearly all the SCA-wide bardic 
> competitions.  At one competition put on by the Queen of the East, 
> the top 
> eight performances were all Ansteorrans.  (Yes, I know we had more 
> people 
> there -- but, according to the judge I spoke with afterward, *all* 
> the 
> Ansteorrans out-did *any* of the others, and it was the greatest 
> bardic 
> event he'd ever seen.  This was not long before the College was 
> disbanded.
> 3. The College encouraged a lot of bards by having lots of 
> competitions and 
> rankings.  Were they silly?  Some people said so, buty they did, in 
> fact, 
> encourage people to learn, to write, and to perform.
> 4. When the College had meetings, ideas were exchanged among a bunch 
> of 
> people at once.  Just as the same piece has a greater effect when 
> fifty 
> people are listening than when three are listening, the same idea 
> has a 
> greater effect when fifty people are listening.
> 5. The reason that most Ansteorran ranches have bardic competitions 
> to 
> choose their own bards is the College.  The College started holding 
> such a 
> competition for each branch, and eventually the branches themselves 
> got 
> involved.  (There were many stupid problems and mistakes along the 
> way, but 
> the single important fact remains -- these competitions came from 
> the 
> College.)
> 6. [Most important to me personally]  If there had been no Queen's 
> College 
> of Bards, Robin of Gilwell would never have become a bard.  When I 
> was a 
> new, shy, mundane, poor performer, I received neglect from most, 
> active 
> scorn from some, but continual support and encouragement from the 
> College. 
> When I had been a performer in Ansteorra for eight years, I had 
> received no 
> royal approval, no Thistle -- but I had earned rank in the College, 
> and many 
> bardic prizes (all from the College), which served to encourage me 
> in ways 
> that the Ansteorran award system wasn't serving.
> This doesn't answer the question of whether we could do it without a 
> College.  The answer is that maybe we could -- but with a College we 
> did 
> support an active, continually growing bardic community, and without 
> a 
> College that community died away -- or, mnore accurately, became 
> more 
> amorphous.  The support from people is always there if you seek it, 
> but 
> bards in the 80s didn't have to look for it.  Nobody was asking " Is 
> the 
> usage of performers in your area, and events in general, 
> sufficient?"
> If anything, the shoe was on the other foot.  There were complaints 
> that 
> there were too many performers, that they took up too much ofthe 
> event.
> I don't particularly argue for a ranking system (though it certainly 
> served 
> me well), because we are now better able to convince Crowns to 
> recognize the 
> bards with Thistles, Laurels, etc.  But I am scientist enough to 
> recognize 
> two brute facts:
> A. When the College was active, the bards were a growing community.
> B. When the College was gone, the bards were a much smaller group, 
> with no 
> real group identity.
> In 1987, I was part of the fencing community and part of the bardic 
> community (and others, of course).  Being an Ansteorran fencer means 
> being 
> tied to the other fencers, pledged to defend the Queen, just as much 
> as it 
> means going out and fencing.  Being an Ansteorran bard meant being 
> tied to 
> the other bards, as part of the Queen's College, just as much as it 
> means 
> standing up and performing.
> Today, I am very much part of the fencing community.  Being an 
> Ansteorran 
> fencer means being tied to the other fencers, pledged to defend the 
> Queen, 
> just as much as it means going out and fencing.  I cannot imagine an 
> Ansteorran fencer who didn't consider himself one of "us".
> But I am a bard.  While I have many friends among the other bards, 
> being an 
> Ansteorran bard primarily means standing up and performing. It's 
> easy to 
> imagine an Ansteorran being a bard without having ties to the other 
> bards 
> (and I think we have some).
> In fact, we have a lot of ties and friendship and collegiality and 
> mutual 
> support and all the rest, but it's amorphous.  When I was one of the 
> Queen's 
> College of Bards, it was clear and bright.
> Wouldn't it be nice if, two or three years from now, people would 
> occasionally complain again that the bards were too active?
> Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
> Bard of the Steppes 
> _______________________________________________
> Bards mailing list
> Bards at lists.ansteorra.org
> http://lists.ansteorra.org/listinfo.cgi/bards-ansteorra.org

More information about the Bards mailing list