Chapter 2: MoAS Duties and Responsibilities

The Atlantian Arts & Sciences Handbook


The MoAS will be responsible for maintaining the files of the arts and science office for the branch. These files should be kept for five years, so that they can provide a history, provide backup copies of correspondence, and so on. Note that files may be paper or electronic.

The files should include:

  1. Copies of reports to the Kingdom Officer.
  2. Copies of correspondence from the MoAS to the Kingdom Officer and from the Kingdom Officer to the MoAS.
  3. Copies of all other correspondence relating to the office.
  4. Event reports.

The files may also include:

  1. Copies of any arts and science newsletters published by the branch.
  2. Copies of other publications for use as sources or references.
  3. An updated listing of the branch’s contact list of artisans and biographical data including but not limited to:
    1. What their specialty is.
    2. If they are comfortable with teaching.
    3. If they write articles.
  4. A list of arts and science awards given to members of the branch, as these assist in knowing who to recommend for what.

File Access

Most files, unless particularly pertaining to a problem with an individual, or award recommendations, should be considered public to the branch. If there are files that are considered private, they should be kept in a separate folder. At the end of a tenure as the branch’s MoAS, there will be a handoff of files to the successor, including the private file folder. Any correspondence relating to the branch’s selection of the successor should be handed over to the Seneschal and not be included with all other files that should go to the next officer. Even if the files are maintained electronically, the MoAS should forward
access to the digital documents to their successor.

MoAS are also responsible for sharing the appropriate passwords to electronic documents, email accounts, etc.


The MoAS is required to file a report on the arts and sciences activities held at the branch’s events by using the Quarterly Report Form. For events, they may also file an Event Form. In either case, the Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences (KMoAS) requires that the MoAS file four times a year on a quarterly schedule. Failure to do so can result in suspension or dismissal for the officer, and could result in sanctions on the group.

The MoAS should be sure to report on arts and sciences activities, both past and future, in the branch’s newsletter. A best practice would be to save a copy of such reports as this will be of great assistance in remembering notable activities when it comes time to write reports to the KMoAS. The MoAS should work with the appropriate web minister to ensure that accurate

information about upcoming activities is available online and in posting an image gallery of past activities and displays on the branch’s website.

MoAS Duties

The following information is a combination of general tips for MoAS officers for performing their duties and obligations under Kingdom Law. MoAS officers should utilize these suggestions, as they are time-tested, will make things easier, and events more enjoyable.

Best Practices

  1. Bring a notepad everywhere and take notes about the arts and sciences activities. This may lead to ideas for future classes or contests.
  2. Solicit artisans directly for articles and class concepts; do not just make a general request for volunteers.
  3. If possible, before an event, arrange a class or series of workshops related to the event contest’s theme.
  4. Use every form of communication available such as the telephone, e-mail, social media, and newsletters.
  5. Stay in contact with guild and branch leaders to develop ideas about sponsoring local activities.
  6. Get the help of deputies, when needed.
  7. Work with autocrats in the event-planning stage. Make sure everything is planned out ahead of time regarding the arts and sciences activities, and that descriptions for displays, contests, and classes may be inserted into event announcements as early as possible. The MoAS should plan to have written descriptions ready at least three months before the event.
  8. As MoAS, run only one arts and sciences activity per event and work together with others on other activities at events.
  9. The KMoAS is there to help, so do not hesitate to make contact if assistance or guidance is required.
  10. The MoAS email list and private Facebook discussion group are good places to brainstorm and get suggestions for how to help the local branch.
  11. Recruit and train someone to serve as your Deputy, who can fill in for you as needed. This may or may not be someone who may wish to succeed you in the position in the future – it is just someone to be a backup. It is recommended that the MoAS maintain a packet of items to be brought to the branch’s events where they may be called upon to coordinate arts and sciences contests or displays.

The MoAS Packet

  1. Copies of forms used for such activities, which may include but are not limited to:
    1. Judging forms.
    2. The tent card entry form (PDF) or the contest/display entry form and entrant roster (PDF).
  2. Index cards, as they are useful to leave comments on entered artworks, for sending messages, or creating signage for displays.
  3. Pens or pencils to be used for filling out forms and writing up comment cards.
  4. Scissors for cutting apart tent-card forms.
  5. Tape and safety pins as eventually someone will be looking for one or both. It is good to be prepared.

Delivering Feedback

The MoAS of a branch is responsible for promoting the arts and sciences within their branch. This will sometimes put the MoAS in the position of providing both praise and criticism to the branch regarding their work. This section will provide some tools in dealing with both. The proper encouragement can give an individual the jump-start to do great things. The improper application of criticism can stop an artisan from ever attempting more difficult projects or terminate an artisan’s interest entirely. Sometimes, the MoAS will feel as if they are walking a tightrope trying to determine how to give
constructive criticism without hurting someone’s feelings or discouraging them altogether.

Positive Feedback

The single most effective way to encourage the arts and sciences in Atlantia is to show appreciation for the work that people are doing. This does not mean senselessly handing out compliments; it means being genuinely appreciative of the effort that went into a project, the research that was done, a new method tried, or a stride toward authenticity. This encourages the individual artisan, and anyone they share their enthusiasm with. It sets a great example for others. Mistress Enid nicEoin provided this list of some ideas to keep in mind when striving to provide encouragement.

Best Practices for Delivering Positive Feedback

  1. Praise the work and effort of artists in the branch, whether they are beginners or experienced. Praise people for trying new skills or improving old ones.
  2. It may feel awkward at first, but keep at it, and remember that praise is not something for which to be embarrassed.
  3. Pay attention both to the effort involved and the results.
  4. Find delight in all the arts and sciences on display and share it. Show genuine interest in the craft, the research, the required skills, and in what was done with the results.
  5. Praise the work and effort of artists who visit the branch and display their work. If the maker is not present, convey compliments through other means.
  6. Do not offer help unless there is some expression of interest from the maker.
    1. For example, if the maker points out the problems, feel free to respond with suggestions or resources.
    2. If they show the piece with pride and a smile, do not criticize or suggest ways to improve; wait for another time.
  7. Thank people for teaching, decorating, or otherwise applying their artistic skills at an event.
  8. Some artisans are embarrassed and awkward about receiving praise. Recognize this and adjust the approach to accommodate their reactions.
  9. Ask people for their help at some art or science-related task. People like to have their skills remembered along with their names.

Constructive Criticism

One of the most frustrating and intimidating things a MoAS may need to do is to provide constructive criticism on an individual’s work or deal with someone who discourages another individual’s efforts repeatedly. There are many issues at play and handling them can be difficult. These instances can be summed up by the terms constructive criticism and negative critique.

Constructive criticism is critiquing based on fact or an educated guess. Most importantly, it is constructive and should always offer a path for improvement. It is always offered from a genuine desire to assist an individual to improve their work. If they have questions on the comments, it gives an individual an open door for discussing their work with the MoAS more. An example of constructive criticism follows.

“Wow! You’ve shown amazing improvement. I really like the way you have done X.[1]One can always find at least one positive aspect of the work. The MoAS should try to add some suggestions for improvement. This will really send this piece over the top. I have a great source that I didn’t see in your bibliography. Talk to me later and I’ll give you the information on it.”

Negative critique is just the opposite; it uses derogatory comments that do not provide further directions for improvement. It is meant to be destructive rather than encouraging. It closes the door to further discussion. Sometimes a comment does not seem like a negative critique to the MoAS, however, to the artisan, it is interpreted as such.

Make sure that the artisan is requesting a critique, as this is not always the case. Sometimes, people are just looking for the acknowledgment that they have tried. Determining this from their statements can be very difficult. As soon as someone is either not listening or looks uncomfortable, take that as a hint that further comments are no longer welcome. The MoAS may want to try another time or another tactic.

Two of the problems with the give and take of criticism is in its delivery and in the manner that it is received. There is a sub-branch of members in the Kingdom who have, because of their profession, been exposed to direct critiquing of their art and in turn, have learned how to deliver critique and how to accept critique. This sub-branch is frequently composed of performing artists, visual artists, writers, scholars, and other creative professions.

However, many individuals in Atlantia have never been trained how to deliver or receive criticism. It may be interpreted as a personal attack of their work, rather than a kind offer of assistance to improve. This makes the timing and the approach to offering critique very important. Sometimes, no matter the circumstances, there will be individuals who will not be able to accept criticism. If one must offer critique, continue to give the artist polite, honest feedback, remembering the tips on praise in the previous section. Do not lie, as that serves no one.

As a MoAS, in coordinating displays, contests, or workshops one will witness both positive feedback, constructive criticism, and negative critique. The MoAS is not obligated to keep discouraging comments on a display table. However, they should instead question the tone of the comment. In many cases the author of the critique will be surprised that their words were misinterpreted, and they may wish to modify their statements to fit the model of constructive criticism. The combating of negative critique is not the job of the MoAS alone. The contest organizer has the right to remove negative critique and replace them with the contact information of the individual who left the comment. The MoAS might find that carrying black markers to black-out or remove these comments can be helpful.

This leads to the rule that all comments should always be signed. If the MoAS sees an unsigned comment, they can remove it from the table. If any individual wishes to comment on someone’s work, they are obligated to stand behind their comments by providing their name and allow the individual receiving the critique to respond. If the MoAS is put in the position of validating critique on someone’s work, these tips should help decide whether the comments are negative critique or constructive criticism.

Best Practices for Delivering Constructive Criticism

  1. One of the most misused phrases in the Society is, “That is not period.” Avoid using that phrase. Historians, archaeologists, and researchers are constantly finding artifacts that alter perceptions of history. An alternative comment would be, “I have never seen that method documented anywhere. What was the source for this?” Using the suggested language gives the individual an opportunity to defend their decision or the opportunity to research things further.
  2. Give a reference source for any suggestions that are made, if possible. If the information is not readily available, arrange for a point of contact to get the information to them.
  3. Never use negative critique or derogatory words in comments such as: stupid, bad, terrible, lousy, awful, and worst. This may seem obvious, however, past circumstances make this necessary.
  4. Avoid phrases that can be construed as condescending in tone. Many people can read through veiled language, whether beginner or advanced. This also counts as negative critique.
  5. Always make sure that the comments include at least one genuine compliment on their work. Refer to the previous section for ideas.
  6. Never follow a positive statement with a contrasting clause. An example would be, “The use of purple in this case is a lovely choice but perhaps unnecessary.”
  7. Read the documentation if unsure about something presented. If it is not clear why an artisan did something, before making a comment on their decision, read the documentation. The answer may be there.
  8. If the MoAS knows someone who can help the artisan, again, put a comment down asking them to talk after the display. If both individuals are present at the event, make the introductions.
  9. Consider the wording of comments.
    1. What kind of feeling does the comment invoke in the reader?
    2. Is there a gentle way to communicate feedback?
    3. Is the comment harsh?
    4. Does it count as negative critique?
  10. The MoAS should not nit-pick although it is easy to do. Unless there is a tie in the entries of a contest, it is not necessary to pick someone’s entry apart.
  11. Consider the amount of time the project took to complete and the experience level of the artist as those factors can make a big difference in the comments.
  12. A MoAS must sign their comments. There are no excuses. The recipient should be able to inquire about the comments left for them. Written comments are subject to interpretation and only thorough further clarification can misunderstandings be resolved.


1 One can always find at least one positive aspect of the work. The MoAS should try to add some suggestions for improvement.