Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Presentation Formats


This blog post started out as a brief response to Mistress Aife's G+ post - http://goo.gl/OU5yc
So, there are the traditional SCA ways of sharing knowledge & showing off what you do: teaching classes, A&S displays, and competitions.  What can we do to create some non-traditional opportunities? I've got at least a few ideas, but, I would love to hear more from the rest of you.
I have to admit that I've been struggling with this recently. More because I feel like I'm expected to display my work within the traditional A&S formats, rather than just letting it evolve in a way that is comfortable for me. However I'm sure that's probably just my own perception, since I tend to stress about things I'm passionate about.

Two things have happened recently that have reinforced in me that I just need to be myself, evolve in a way that is comfortable for me and just continue to do what I do. In the space of five days, I was made a companion of the Order of the Maunche, which took me completely by surprise. Then a couple of people that I admire a great deal mentioned some things that struck a cord.

I've always thought that to progress along an A&S track, I would need to enter competitions and displays. Cramming all the tidbits of information I've gathered, thoughts I've had, or experiments I've tried onto a single sheet of paper. That doesn't work FOR ME. It feels forced. Maybe I could form it into a longer research paper at some point, I've have tried, but at this point and time I don't know what I would want to write. Right now I want to share everything!

The other traditional route is teaching a class. In concept I don't mind this idea, but in reality the thought of actually having to talk to a bunch of people terrify's me.

<waves>Hi, introvert here.</waves>

I do have a few ideas for classes, and I think that eventually I'll give it a shot, but for right now I will share in other ways.

I much prefer public, searchable, online formats for presenting my general blathering and research for my art. This format is currently where I am the most comfortable and it allows my personality to show through. Could I present it in a better way than a blog, sure I could, and for a while I even tried that. However, I quickly found that it was taking up to much of my time to keep it updated, which kind of defeats the point.

As mentioned, I find it incredibly difficult verbalizing the things I know or am learning. It's much easier and more cohesive when I am able to create a conscious-free-flowing-thought-draft, and then edit it a number of times before releasing it to the world at large. The added beauty is that when I find new information, discard outdated thought, or add additional supporting sources I can update my work immediately to everyone rather than at the next A&S thing. You should see the amount of draft-posts I have just waiting to get to a point where I feel comfortable unleashing them! I also think that it's important to post about the failures and the "almost's", as they're both essential to learning.

I find that this format offers the most benefit to others. Trying to absorb information while wandering round an A&S competition or display doesn't work. Classes are better, but time and format often prevent indepth discussion and learning. That's why I prefer presenting my information online. It's searchable for others, from the comfort of their chosen study area, at a time and duration comfortable FOR THEM. My two posts Preparing Pergamenata and Gilding: Mediums, Mordants & Techniques continue to be the most viewed and shared posts on this blog. Both are updated as I come across new techniques and materials.

I'm also starting to discover other online formats that compliment how I like to share. Google+ is a big one, as it allows for my day-to-day personality to show. Picasa web albums is another as it allows all my photographs to be viewed in one place. Finally, Evernote allows me to keep notebooks for topics I'm researching, which I'm able to share with individuals or publicly depending on the what I choose.

I'm fitting comparably into this presentation format instead of trying to force myself into a more traditional one. I think I'm better for it, and I hope that others are enjoying (and hopefully benefiting) from my posts.

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