Golden Swan: Application Process
To be accepted as an applicant for Golden Swan, you follow a two-step process. First, a preliminary application is required by June 30th of the year in which you wish to compete. If your application is accepted, you must submit the full application by August 15th. Please note that if you live in the USA and send your full application by mail it can take 3 to 6 weeks for mail to travel between our countries. Please allow for this when planning your submission. We recommend using a courier service for your application, and we require that you use a courier service for the entry to Category 2, Correspondence, to ensure it does not get lost.
We strongly suggest you make direct contact with the Swan Steward or the Judging Co-ordinator before you actually apply in June. This allows us to find out how much you know about the event and the competition. We can also discuss issues, concerns or questions you might have about the contest, which can save you a lot of work.
Golden Swans who have competed in past years are excellent resources for persona development and all the details, tips and tricks of doing the best you can at Golden Swan. However, you MUST contact the Shire of Appledore directly to apply. You are not considered to be a candidate until you have formally applied to the Shire of Appledore.
THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO SURPRISE!!!!
The purpose of the two-stage process is to get a handle on how prepared you are to attempt Swan. We don't want anyone to do all the work involved only to see them fail. If we feel you're not ready, we'll stop you at this stage. In fifteen years, we had only 1 unsuccessful applicant. We also had one near-miss in the past dozen years, and we want to prevent that from happening again.
The Preliminary Application -
due June 30th of the year you intend to compete
This will consist of:
1. the Application Form, or the same information requested on it on another sheet of paper,
2. a brief introduction to the persona that outlines the same information as in Category 1
3. a preliminary bibliography.
Details of your persona's biography can change, but the time period and culture of your persona must remain the same.
This application is only to allow us to see if your persona is suitable, to know your time period and culture so we can prepare ourselves as judges, and to make sure your research has been based on appropriate materials. If your bibliography consists of encyclopedia entries, unverifiable popular sources like Readers Digest books, and some National Geographic articles, if we're pretty sure your persona is implausible, based on our knowledge of history, or we spot major inconsistencies or problems, we want to stop you now.
You should hear back within a week or two if your preliminary application has been received. Email communication is the best method, and submitting your application by email is best.
The Full Application - due August 15th.
If your application is accepted for that year, you will then submit a Final Application, which will consist of:
- a more detailed persona introduction,
- a detailed bibliography (many Swan applicants arrange this by category to be sure all their bases are covered, and to make the judges' jobs easier)
- specific documentation for categories that require it or where it seems necessary.
- the original of your entry for Category 2, "Correspondence."
1. The detailed persona introduction can take many forms. You can write it as a story, you can do a timeline, point form, plain unadorned prose, whatever you like. We need a minimum of one page single-spaced or equivalent. In the first part of the application, we wanted the "elevator intro" to your persona, a sentence or paragraph summing up your persona, the highlights of your personal history and any important points. For the Full Application, we want more detail about why you married or did not, who and when you married, how many children you have, where you were born and where you live now, what you do for a living or what supports you, when your husband died or when you entered the convent and why; the more complete version of your life story. Some people have very simple life stories, others have very complex ones. Keep in mind that you can be creative if you like, but your application and documentation support your entry, which will be judged at the event.
2. For the detailed bibliography many Swan applicants arrange this by category to be sure all their bases are covered, and to make the judges' jobs easier. Or it can be one long list. The format is up to you. We recommend that you use a standard format for citations, simply to make it easier for judges to find your sources.
3. Categories for which documentation MUST be submitted in advance are: Textile and Fibre Arts; Skills and Technologies (you should already have indicated what you will be presenting in your Preliminary Application); both of the Optional Categories you've selected (again, your choice of 2 of the 3 Optional Categories should be part of your Preliminary Application. If you didn't do that then, you need to do it now) (More on documentation below)
Ideally, all documentation and bibliographies should be submitted electronically, by email, file sharing, or blog. Or if you have images as part of your documentation and don't have access to a scanner or fax, send us hard copies when you send your Correspondence entry, and also send text electronically. Electronic format allows us to share your application with the Swans and the other judges. We have the capacity to read pdf, .doc and .docx from multiple versions of Microsoft Office, html, and Pages documents.
4. You must also send us the original of your entry for Category 2, "Correspondence." This must be received by courier. Do not use the US postal service; priceless packages have been lost this way. No, really. We're serious. Even letters can take 5 to 7 weeks from the US to Canada. You don't want to know why; it's really stupid. Just trust us on this, don't mail it. Electronic means or faxes will not be accepted. Cost for sending a standard 9x12 envelope are the same for most courier services (standard delivery, not expedited), US Postal Service and Canada Post.
This package should be in the hands of the Judging Co-ordinator by August 15 of the year in which you intend to compete. This allows for changes, corrections or adjustments if necessary.
The style, script and materials used must be appropriate to your persona or at least plausibly medieval. If your persona does not write or use the Latin alphabet, you might wish to consult with the Swan Steward or Judging Co-ordinator to determine how to handle this.
You may use a foreign language, but you must provide your own translation as well. If you will be using a non-Western script, please provide illustrated examples of your script as well as sources of information about the script and its history. Please assume we will find a translation, and that we are familiar with any foreign script you use. Don't try to fake this.
If your persona does not write, the letter can be from someone writing on your behalf, but you must do the lettering yourself.
The letter is often addressed to the Ladies or the Sisters of the Golden Swan. It often takes the form of a letter of introduction or a document requesting safe passage from a sponsor or protector. It may include some reason why you are traveling, but this is not necessary. The assumption is that you are traveling; otherwise you'd need to build an entire medieval house, furnish and staff it. And we don't want that. For the convenience for everyone, we assume you're traveling. Appledore or the site can be a convent or pilgrimage site en route, a waystop on a business trip, a destination, or whatever you would like it to be. Don't get hung up on the plausibility of this within your persona. We use the Correspondence entry as one way of gauging how well you apply research to a concrete object.
You must also submit all of the documentation for categories you wish to document. Several categories require documentation to support your specific choices (see the Categories page for more information on each category). As a general rule, follow the basic Arts and Sciences protocol for documenting choices about materials, style, performance piece: tell us how it would have been done in period, how you chose to do it and why you made this decision. For example, perhaps in period, the inner garment would have been made of linen and the outer garment of wool, but you've chosen to go with cotton as your under-dress because of cost, and a polyester-wool blend for your outer dress because you could find a colour you can document in that fabric, but not in pure wool. Tell us that in writing. Documentation can consist of photocopies with full citations of the books, articles or webpages they were taken from, bibliographies, or essays in which you synthesize all of the information into a form we can absorb. You must still provide the sources of information you include.
We do not ask for any specific format or style for citations or bibliography, but in ALL cases, we should be able to find the source by using your citation. There are plenty of formats available online or in libraries for bibliographies and citations. If you cite a specific document or page, we must be able to navigate to that exact page, not simply to the Home page or portal of the library or museum the document is housed in.
While you may wish to bring additional detailed documentation to the event with you, all required documentation and other parts of the final application MUST be received by the shire by August 15th. If you cannot meet the deadline, you must make arrangements with the Judging Co-ordinator or risk forfeiting your entry for that year. Handing your application to a Swan or a shire member at an event in August is not adequate, unless prior arrangements have been made AND confirmed with the shire in advance. Both applications MUST be received by the shire to be accepted.
Please see the Contact page for the addresses to send your application.