Putting Together an An Tir Kingdom Heraldic Symposium

by Zenobia Naphtali, Couronne Rouge Herald, 1999
with much appreciated assistance from Rafaella d'Allemtejo, Black Stag Herald, Elizabeth Braidwood, Herald's web/electronic media deputy, Elisabeth de Rossignol, Æstel Herald, and David of Moffat, Electrum Herald.
It takes a College to raise a Symposium.


There is obviously no one single way to run an An Tir Kingdom Heraldic Symposium. However, we have found some things that work well, and other things that haven't worked so well — and are always taken aback every year at the press of schedule and planning. Here are some thoughts and guidelines, which should be of use to future Symposium planners.

What is This Event?

An Tir Heraldic Symposium is assembled for the following basic reasons:

This has traditionally manifested as a combination of:

It is hard to plan all this for a single day, so the event has become a weekend event, or at least a day and a half event (full day Saturday, part day Sunday to allow people to drive home.) However, it is generally felt that a good one-day Symposium is preferable to a year without a Symposium.

Overall Event Organization:

Where and When will the Symposium be?

Like any event, Symposium needs a hosting Branch. There is currently NO formal bid procedure for Kingdom Heraldic Symposium, although proposals have been made that such a thing would be a good idea to help with future planning. Generally, the site is chosen because of some combination of branches volunteering (uncommon but welcome), and heralds persuading a branch to host the Symposium. It has been a goal to move the site around the Kingdom, to make it accessible to heralds from various areas, just as with Crown events. This goal has not always been met, particularly when the Symposium is planned late in the game, as some branches enjoy hosting the event while others will have to be coaxed into considering it.

The Symposium has traditionally (in the 1990s) been held once a year, in the Spring, and had an All-Fools theme to the Feast/Revel (thus, a date around early April is chosen.) This has some advantages; it's before the height of busy tourney season and commuting is generally safe. However, Easter Sunday often can be a scheduling problem, and some areas of the Kingdom have a traditionally busy Spring calendar and we have not yet been able to place the Symposium there. Moving it should be preferable to not having it.

Who runs the Symposium, and How is it Run?

The Symposium is an event that is virtually guaranteed to have two "heads", the local branch autocrat, and the herald designated to be in charge. The event could conceivably have a single autocrat, if the herald in charge were in the branch, and also the branch's designated autocrat, but this has not yet happened. The two-autocrat situation results in an event where the communications issues are much more complex than in an event with a single autocrat. Remember to keep the lines of communications open!.

The traditional (but not mandated) allocation of job duties is as follows. In all cases, the Herald in Charge and host autocrat may trade some duties as they see fit, but this is the usual division. It's important that the tasks on the list, and their division, be agreed upon between the host autocrat and the Herald in Charge as soon as possible. One way to make the division of labor easily comprehensible is to think of it somewhat like an Ithra, with the Herald in Charge taking the role of the Ithra Chancellor. Be careful when using this analogy though; in some Regions the Ithra handles all details of the event including site procurement!

Herald in Charge:

Host autocrat:

The Herald in Charge has often been the education deputy herald (currently Argent Scroll Herald), since this office was established in '92. However, this task has sometimes been delegated to other heralds. The Herald in Charge will often subdelegate some tasks (for example, the person taking registrations may not be the person planning classes.) It is Very Important that the host autocrat has a single herald contact they can go to, otherwise it gets confusing for the host autocrat (who should not be expected to keep track of three or four heralds.)

Because the herald in charge isn't always Argent Scroll (or any other particular member of Kingdom staff), this person generally needs to be designated clearly by Black Lion. Sometimes, the Herald in Charge has been the herald who came up to Black Lion and said "If you don't care, and no one else cares, i'm making sure it happens this year" — and Black Lion doesn't say "No." Possibly, a more standard bid procedure and schedule would help minimize the cases when this happens.

Event Finances

Society financial policy requires that all funds associated with an SCA event are run through an SCA checking account. There are two options with respect to the Symposium: The Black Lion/An Tir College of Heralds checking account, or the host branch's checking account. The determination of which account will be used needs to be made early in the planning for the event. Some symposia have had funds run through both accounts: the Kingdom account for the classes and class registration, and the host branch for the site and feast fee. However, it is possible for all funds to run through one or the other, but doing so will almost necessarily require that "head" to assume more responsibility for the event.

Profits from the event have been managed in various ways. Sometimes they go to the Herald's office, sometimes they go to the Branch, sometimes there is a known plan so that general profits go to one place, but specific receipts from fundraisers etc. go to another place. It is Very Important that this is clearly understood beforehand by both autocrats. It is also important to understand what happens if the event loses money: traditionally the College of Heralds has not been able to pay for a losing event so the risk is all on the hosting branch. All parties should understand this, or clearly understand a different arrangement. Any arrangement that requires the College to pay for part or all of a losing event must be approved by Black Lion as early in the event planning as possible. Checking with the Kingdom Exchequer would also not be a bad idea.

Main sources of income: site fee, class fees, feast fee (often separate from site fee), on-site fundraisers.

Major sources of cost: site, class materials, feast.

As a general rule, teachers' travel expenses are not reimbursed. Divergences from this policy could be approved by Black Lion and budgeted into the event. Permission to have the class fee include a "pad" to cover travel expenses might also be approved by Black Lion.

Obviously, income is highly dependent on attendance, and if attendance does not meet the expectations (due to a poorly conceived event, or a poorly publicized event), the event will have financial problems. See the attendance section for more comments along these lines.

We have in the past tried to keep the class fees low, about $1.00 per class to cover all class costs other than special class materials on a hands-on class. However, the class fee could be a source for profit. So far, the profit has come entirely from the site fee and feast fee.

Fundraisers have not so far been a major source of profit but could possibly be added, either as part of the event itself, or outside the event. One must always be careful to observe mundane financial rules about fundraising activities, and it is wise to get Black Lion's approval before running a fundraiser. There is a Kingdom Fundraiser officer who can give advice on whether a proposed fundraiser is legal, and may even have some suggestions as to good types of fundraisers. If the branch wants to run a fundraiser and give some or all the proceeds to the An Tir College, which (believe it or not) has happened, then I believe the onus of the financial rules falls on the branch.

Who Can we Expect to Attend?

In the '90s, we have seen a pattern of attendance that hasn't changed much. Some 25-50 (probably around 35) people will attend just because of the Symposium. These tend to be heralds from all over the Kingdom (occasionally, but generally not, accompanied by their significant others) although you will get a higher concentration of heralds who can day-trip to and from the event.

More people will attend the feast/revel and generally have a very good time. However, these people are almost always just from the branch. Branch publicity is vital to getting these extra people or they will think the event is a "herald thing" and not come. Anywhere from about a dozen to about 100 extra people from the branch have been known to show depending on many factors. The most prominent factors in non-heraldic branch attendance seem to be in-branch publicity (including good word of mouth), and the location of the event compared to the population center of the main branch. If the event is an hour out of town, people may not drive for just what is, to them, an evening event.

It is important the Branch understands this need for publicity, or they may budget a 120 person event and find they only have a 50 person event, and a financial loss.

Planning Schedule

This event can best be planned at least six months in advance, for purposes of selecting the calendar date, site, reserving teachers, etc. Many of the Symposium teachers will travel significant distances to teach but their calendars fill up early.

A three month lead time is very desirable for starting to publicize the event heavily to the local heralds, although if the date/site is chosen earlier, this should be announced as early as possible. See the "Event Publicity" section for more tips on planning the publicity schedule as it pertains to the Crier and other media.

Preregistration is desirable to help teachers plan class sizes, but should not be mandatory as we would lose a lot of registrations. For classes where there is limited attendance (hands-on things, limited materials etc.) it can be a lifesaver. Preregistration should close about a week before the event to allow instructors to plan, with some on-site registration allowed as class materials permit. In cases where the site has convenient on-site (or near-site) photocopying, the importance of preregistration is also diminished.

Site Requirements

The site requirements obviously will vary depending on the activities at the symposium. However, there are a few expected needs:


Most classes run between 5 and 20 attendees, with some popular teachers of popular subjects drawing even more. It is overwhelmingly preferable for each class to be in a separate room for acoustical reasons. We have had situations where we held two classes at opposite ends of a large room, it works but the need to avoid too much noise (especially with a rowdy bunch of heralds) cuts into the enjoyment of the classes. We have had situations where a large room with a stage hosts one of the classes on the stage, the idea being that the curtains can be drawn to avoid noise. This results in a stuffy and claustrophobic condition which should be avoided.

Classes need certain furniture. Everyone needs to sit in a chair. Some elementary school-type sites may only have teeny kiddie chairs: these are not conducive for learning and some other solution must be sought. It is a known heraldic fact that most heralds do not learn well when their rears are uncomfortable: draw from this any conclusions you like.

Most SCAers can bring a chair if warned in advance, but this is not expected and must be publicized. Tables are very useful as writing surfaces, and are probably mandatory for hands-on crafts classes. Crafts classes will also generally require access to a sink.

Most classes also need some sort of large area to write on before the class. A whiteboard is my first choice for armory classes as it allows a range of tinctures which are not as easily done with colored chalks. A big newsprint flip-pad also works, although it then helps to have an easel that is tall enough so that the class can see it (tearing sheets out and taping them up also works.) All these methods need the appropriate markers (remember, whiteboard markers are a special type), or chalk and erasers. We have had numerous times when we have borrowed a whiteboard and markers and the markers were almost dry; it is probably worth buying some whiteboard markers for any event at which we expect to use whiteboards.

Some classes need audio-visual materials, slides being the most common. Many of these classes are popular, as they involve forms of heraldic display of interest to both heralds and non-heralds, so they should accommodate the expected attendance. Remember that such classes will require a slide projector, a slide screen or very clean/straight white wall, and some sort of table on which to put the slide projector (possibly with some sorts of props to raise it to the right level.) The room must also be able to be darkened somewhat to allow the slides to be shown (which can be a problem in some halls, with large windows and no drapes.) The best rooms for slides are rooms which can be darkened enough to show the slides, but not to such a pitch blackness that it discourages note-taking and encourages sleep.


Depends on the type of the workshop. If you are going to have a tourney, for example, you need an area that is acceptable for combat. If you want some special voice practicums, they should be outside or in rooms where noise pollution won't be a problem, etc.

General Socializing Area:

This is a must. The symposium needs some room where people can congregate when they are not taking classes, or between classes. A good solution is to have a large room which is used for socializing during the day and feasting during the evening. This also allows people to eat lunch or snack in that room. Heralds are big on snacking. (Remember, some sites have large rooms which do not allow food: many Masonic halls and Odd Fellows type halls have rooms like this.)

Feast/Revel area:

Should be self-explanatory; often in the General Socializing area later in the day.

Consultation Table Area:

This works well in the general socializing area. Due to the presence of books, it should be kept away from major food traffic areas. Due to the rare but known tendency for books to "walk away" from the Consultation table, never to be seen again, a policy should be set so that no one may remove books from the consultation table area. If photocopies are needed and the photocopier is in another area, the client or consulting herald should write down a request for the required pages, and the consultation table coordinator (or his designate) will be responsible for the books and the copying.

Meeting areas:

Generally only need to be rooms with chairs. If the meetings are going to be the second day, they might be in a different site than the Saturday site. However, we have found that most people's living rooms are now too small for the Sunday meetings and unless someone has a very capacious room indeed, it's best to find a room outside a private residence. Suggestions are: rooms that can be rented in libraries, and rooms that can be rented in restaurants (if we are willing to have dining be a part of the meeting times.)

On-site free or inexpensive photocopier:

We almost never have this. But boy, would it be nice for the consult table, for not having to worry about being a bit short on handouts.

Event Publicity

Like most events, correct Event Publicity has a major impact on the success of the event. As soon as the date and place of the symposium is known, some form of publicity should be made, particularly to the heralds and to the local branch, to make them aware of the event.

Remember that most non-heralds might not think they will want to attend the Heraldic Symposium. The early publicity is a good time to let them realize what there is for them at the event. Non-heralds are often interested in classes showing ways to make their costumes and encampments look great, especially if the classes are described in this manner.

A consultation table can also be a major draw for non-heralds, particularly in areas where the heraldic resources are scarce. If a consultation table will be provided, this should be well publicized. Don't make the mistake of assuming that people will know what a "consultation table" is. Be clear: "A heraldic consultation table, where you can work with a herald to design and document your name and arms."

The Crier: It has been our experience that The Crier will not take detailed information about classes being offered. Even if this information is provided by the host branch, it is often cut due to space constraints. Remember, Ithra event schedules aren't published in The Crier; it is unreasonable to expect that ours will be.

The Crier generally expects copy to be issued by the host branch autocrat, not the herald contact, so it's wise to try to get information in that person's copy (and make sure that person will generate the copy, or doesn't mind you generating the copy in his/her name.) The Crier will also not generally publicize more than two months in advance. Remember, to get event copy into the March and April Crier, event copy needs to be ready to go in late January and late February, respectively.

The Principal Herald can often get some information in his column in The Crier, and should do so (especially if something goes wrong with the event copy but the Herald's Column is printed). Still, it is probably best (in both the Principal Herald's column and in the event copy) to keep the discussion of the classes at the symposium short, but make very clear where the reader can go to get more information. It is often not a bad idea to remind the Principal Herald to get this information into his column.

The Internal Letter of Intent: A full description of the classes is generally published here, at least one sheet worth, showing scheduling, who the teachers are (when it is known; sometimes they don't get selected by press time), etc. This is often published for a couple months running. Contact Lions Blood for the scheduling requirement for the Internal Letter of Intent: as a general rule to get into a Letter of Intent you need the information provided by the last day of the preceding month. However, this depends on Lions Blood's personal schedule.

The host branch newsletter and regional newsletter: these should be given the full event announcement as well. It may be a good idea to give a different wording than the one intended just for heralds. The random person in a branch won't necessarily know who Master Da'ud ibn Auda is, but may be very interested in knowing that a "survey of heraldic display" means "banners, heraldically decorated items, heraldic clothing, and more."

Ask the host branch newsletter editor when he/she wants the copy. I have known circumstances where event copy (not necessarily this event) was provided "too far in advance" and held until "closer to the event" — at which point the copy is sometimes forgotten. (The two-month-+ in advance Crier deadline is often "too far in advance".) Life will be easier if newsletter editors are sent event copy when they need it.

Mailing Lists and Web Pages: The antir-heralds mailing list, Steps mailing list and Cathedral mailing list are all good places to announce this event; also antir_scribes if there is a scribal element to the classes being offered. At least one full (long) announcement with all the schedule information etc. should be provided, but not over and over and over; it annoys the list readers. One big announcement a couple of months in advance, another big announcement a few weeks before the event, and at least one announcement a month in between and beforehand (a short 'teaser' which directs the reader to more information.)

Putting the full information up on a web page, and publicizing that address, would be very valuable. The An Tir web deputy will support this. Ideally, wherever the web page resides, a clear link will be provided from the An Tir web pages' "upcoming events" section, from the An Tir Heralds' site's Symposium pages, and from the hosting branch's and region's web pages. The Herald in Charge should contact the appropriate people to provide the web page copy and to suggest the links once the page is installed.

Classes/Workshops/Consultation Table/Teachers


We have had many different classes and workshops in the past, and many different teachers. Here is a scattering of the kind of things that have been or could be offered. It's obviously not an exhaustive list.

For information on who might teach what kind of class, the Symposium has been publicized with a teacher list in the Internal letters of Intent, and this information may well be in Lions Blood's files. Hunting for teachers can be done by asking around Kingdom staff. Some excellent teachers are, of course, not in the College of Heralds at all, but have a good knowledge of how heraldry can be used in art and science. An open call for teachers is never a bad idea, but it is a good idea for the Herald in Charge to be very selective in which classes should be offered, and which teachers should be chosen or invited to teach these classes. This is due to the limited time and space at the event, and the need to serve all levels of heraldic expertise from "populace" to "advanced" and all the diverse areas of heraldic interest (administration, protocol, names, armory, court, field, heraldic display...)

Never assume that a "usual teacher" will be free to teach without confirming it with him or her. It never hurts to ask someone to teach, it's always flattering, and it may help that person make up their mind about whether that one spare weekend needed to be filled with an SCA event or not.

Some teachers can be imported from other Kingdoms: Laurel Sovereign of Arms often travels, and some heraldic scholars of note will also travel to teach. Ask a College of Arms commenter or Lions Blood for ideas. Many of these scholars are specialists, if there is a particular need, ask these folks who in the Known World might have the needed specialty.

Consultation Table (Consulting Heralds and Sources)

Consultation Table doesn't specifically need a "teacher" but there should be an overall coordinator of some sort. This person will not have to be at the table all day but should be available on and off for most of the day. The Kingdom officer in charge of Consultation Table, and in possession of the An Tir College of Heralds' library, is the Æstel Herald, but Æstel does not have to be the Consultation Coordinator. One cannot assume that Æstel will attend, or bring books, unless it is specifically arranged by the Herald in Charge. Æstel may be willing to send books to an event through an intermediary although a high degree of accountability will be placed on all book messengers to avoid book loss or damage.

Other people may also be contacted to provide research sources, especially a current (updated) Armorial and Ordinary (which is not in the Æstel library at present.) Any person bringing books to the consultation table (including Æstel) should also bring a list of the books they brought (for checking before leaving the event), and should clearly mark his name in the books. It is all too easy for books to be mis-packed in the wrong box at the end of a long event. As mentioned in the site constraints, books can also occasionally "walk" and the sooner a book's disappearance is noted, the more likely it is that the book can be found. Also as mentioned in the site constraints, the Consultation Table coordinator should ensure that a "no books leave the table" policy is instituted.

Since these books are heavy and valuable, if the Herald in Charge is coordinating books between a number of heralds, he may wish to coordinate between the people bringing books so that there isn't much duplication. It does help to have multiple copies of the Armorial and Ordinary, as these are the only sources for conflict checking, which must be done on all submissions.

Ithra Credit?

Ithra will often give credit for classes that aren't purely involved with running SCA offices (such as branch herald administrative classes, or how to check for conflict in the SCA). Some Ithra classes are "core" classes for their degrees: these are Basic Heraldry, Field Heraldry, and Graphic Heraldry (Survey of Heraldic Display/Use). It is good for the Symposium classes of the same name not to diverge too far from the Ithra class definitions.

In order to get Ithra credit, the Herald in Charge must plan in advance with the Ithra Chancellor for the hosting branch. Often the Chancellor will require that he or his delegate be on site for the event, and will require that Ithra paperwork (sign in sheets, instructor giving pass/fail credit) be done. Sometimes only the core classes are given credit, sometimes all the non-Professional classes. As yet, the Ithra has not given Symposium teachers Ithra class hour credit towards the Magister Ithra, even if the class is being given for Ithra credit, but that could always change in the future. This would also be determined in discussion with the Ithra chancellor. It is possible for students to keep their handouts and "challenge" the Ithra requirement later, but this is more difficult for the student.

Choosing and Scheduling Classes and Workshops

Basic classes always work well at a Symposium. It is always a struggle to balance the desire to give intermediate or advanced classes (which often you can't get anywhere outside a Symposium) against the desire to teach the basic classes again (which you can get at an Ithra.) However, every time we fail to teach Basic Heraldry someone asks why we didn't have it, Basic Field is similar.

Three tracks of classes have worked well for us in the past, to be given on Saturday according to the usual Ithra schedule, which divides the day into four two-hour class periods with a one hour lunch break: 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m, 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. However, some classes can be shorter or longer. Other numbers of tracks are also possible; two has worked quite pleasantly. More tracks are also popular. As in any class scheduling situation, the more variety you provide, the more complaints you will get about "the interesting classes all being at the same time." The variety is probably worth it.

There are a few theories about scheduling classes. One popular option is to have thematic class tracks (so: all the voice classes in order, starting with Basic Field and going on to Court, How to Run Herald's Point, etc.) This results in a schedule with a lot of basic classes scheduled against each other in the early portion of the day. The other popular and completely opposite scheduling is to try to mix up the basic, intermediate and advanced classes, so that a person can take all the basic classes or all the advanced classes, without conflict. Some teachers may also express a strong desire to attend someone else's class, and it is nice to accommodate this when possible. It's a juggling act, you will never make everyone happy, so do as seems best.

We have had more classes than workshops, but sometimes we do have a workshop. One thing that has worked fairly well is to have a mini-tourney so field, announcement and court heralds can actually do a little tournament worth of practice. (The heralds take turns being in charge of a 'court', generally a lot of 'awards' will be given out at the 'court' as well as presentations etc.) This of course requires coordination with the host autocrat to ensure that the branch's fighters are willing to participate. Genuine branch nobility is also handy for the Court portion although in Shires or branches where the Nobility does not wish to participate, a Royal Peer or other ringer can be brought in.

Serious hands-on crafts classes have been few due to site limitations. Making Flags & Regalia, Painting Banners, and Introduction to Illumination classes have been well received although these have been put into the "class" format rather than the "workshop" format. More activity classes would be very welcome.

It is always worth keeping in mind that the symposium only has one weekend worth of activities, and it's important to decide how much can be fit into that schedule. For example, one might decide to have a mini-tourney workshop on Sunday, and also hold Black Lion and Lions Blood meetings on Sunday. This has occasioned complaints from those persons who really wished to attend both. Now that Black Lion has meetings at all the Crown events, not just once a year at Symposium, the concern about missing admin meetings is diminished — but it is still there. I do suspect though that, since a lot of voice and court classes are given on Saturday, it would not make sense to have the mini-tourney conflict with the voice and court classes.

It may in the long run be desirable to hold more than one heraldic learning event a year, some perhaps with a particular focus such as voice, or hands-on crafts.

Some Ideas for Classes:

The SCA Heraldic Profession:
Heraldry Scholastics:
Heraldry and Arts/Sciences:
General Interest:


There will generally be two meetings:

Black Lion Staff Meeting:

Open to all. Black Lion gets short reports from his staff and the assemblage entertains questions and comments from the floor. This meeting used to be about the only annual opportunity for general public discussion of issues concerning the An Tir College of Heralds; since a policy of herald's meetings at Crown events has been instituted, this meeting's importance may diminish. It should, however, not be omitted, since many people have conflicts with the herald's meetings at Crown events, and should not have them at the Symposium.

Lions Blood Meeting:

The Lions Blood meeting to determine what happens to that month's submissions is generally held at the Symposium.

These meetings are often held on Sunday because of the full activity schedule on Saturday, sometimes at the main site, and sometimes off-site (see the section on the Site for more information).

Fun Stuff

As mentioned above, the Symposium is generally coordinated with an All Fools Feast. We have generally had a really good time with this.

We have found that usually the feast is a slow and pleasant affair, leaving little time for a serious "revel" afterwards. This is partially because the feast starts on the late side given the usual class scheduling (last class ends at 6:00 so if feast starts at 7:00 we aren't winding up until 9:00 or later.) If the event has on-site sleepover camping, later partying would probably be more likely. For this reason I wouldn't suggest a major post-dinner activity such as dancing unless it is generally felt there is a big local audience for this. A bardic circle is more easily "squishable" into allowable time and sometimes breaks out spontaneously.

The feast has been any format from potluck buffet feast to the standard served feast with all food provided by the branch. All these formats work, although the foolery of the fool's feast works better in events which don't have a buffet format, just due to foot traffic. Since many people travel long distances to the event, potlucks can be difficult. If the site is far from any food store, and it's a potluck, don't expect a lot of meats and other perishables to show up.

Some activities that have been done in the past:

King and Queen of Fools: these persons are chosen by lot in some sort of "magic bean in the pudding" or "note under the chair" manner. They then move to the high table and Rule with Caprice. Often they request performances, providing entertainment.

Role Reversal: Often the seating will be mandated so that those ordinarily of high degree (Peers, Kingdom staff, Laurel Sovereign...) are required to sit at the Low Tables at the back of the hall. Some experiments (e.g. the Wastekeep symposium) in giving the people at the Low Tables reduced privileges (e.g. having to beg for butter for their bread) has proven the Liberal adage that by creating an underclass, you immediately get increases in crime among that class: butter theft, both at knifepoint, and by stealth, was observed among the supposedly chivalrous among us. If the Role Reversal is publicized in advance some people attend the feast dressed as other folks or otherwise incognito, which is interesting to see (Master Vergil as HRH Janeltis for example...)

Food Fights: A food fight generally 'goes well' with the ambience, in a kind of reserved way. It is considered a good idea to provide something that will throw well without creating a mess or damage (small crusty rolls are ideal here). Another alternative is the "polite" or "courtly" food fight, where items of food (sometimes exquisitely shaped into interesting food sculpture) are presented by messengers affiliated with the "attackers" with great ceremony and dignity to the people being "attacked." This could also easily be tied in with the ambassadorial/messenger nature of the herald in period: possibly one could hold a contest for the best food fight herald in conjunction with such a thing.

Parody Shield Auction/ID contest: a Three Mountains staple predating the '90s, the people running the auction pre-prepare some parodies of people's and branches' arms, put them up on the wall for general entertainment, and then auction them off. Often the people being parodied are allowed to pre-buy their shields rather than see them go to auction. Sometimes there is a contest run before the auction to guess who the parody shields are parodies of. This works well every few years. The auction is sometimes held for the benefit of the hosting branch, rather than the Kingdom College of Heralds (after all, much pre-work goes into the construction of these items).

Silly Heraldic Games: Heraldic Simon Says has been seen. Also proposed but not seen (by me): Heraldic Charades, Heraldic Bingo, Heraldic Twister... some of these do require props in advance, others don't.

Merchants, Food Vendors, and related fundraisers: We have not had many merchants at Symposia, but people selling heraldic books would probably be very welcome and would do good business. (Blue Anchor editorial comment: Yes, please!) A branch might even decide to combine the Symposium with a "Shopportunity" merchanting-oriented event, if the site had enough rooms for classes, socializing and merchants.

Sometimes the host branch or some other organization may hold some sort of a small fundraiser, such as offering a lunch for purchase. One year the North region did some heraldically decorated sugar cookies (basic field divisions, charges) which were very popular and tasty, too.


After the Symposium is completed, a summary of the event should be turned into Black Lion and the sponsoring Branch by the Herald in Charge. Ithra paperwork needs to be given to the Ithra Chancellor and reimbursements to teachers is coordinated with the Branch Exchequer or Black Lion (as agreed upon previously). Don't forget to thank everyone who helped put the event together (and the list will be long!)

Organizing an An Tir Heraldic Symposium involves communication, communication, and communication. It is really that simple (and that difficult). The Symposium is an event which is educational, informative, and fun for both teachers and students. We hope you find this article useful in planning future Symposia.