In an effort to discover more about one of it’s most iconic but esoteric campus clubs, Pelican hung out with the University of Western Australia’s branch of the International Society for Creative Anachronism, for an afternoon. We found them to be one of the friendliest, most welcoming and passionate groups we’ve come into contact with on campus (sorry, Blackstone).
The College of St Basil the Great is but one chapter of the International Society for Creative Anachronism, a global organisation interested in recreating medieval traditions. The small and dedicated club, totalling around 20 members, meets twice weekly for traditional armoured combat sessions, rapier fighting, dancing, costume sewing, and music. They also hold annual feasts and attend national conventions with other branches from around Australia. It turns out that most members are interested in the medieval period as a hobby rather than an academic pursuit – which is lucky for them, given recent events.
Thanks to the club’s resident medieval dreamboat Jacques Jenkins for explaining UWASCA’s history, and to recently elected President Amberley Lievense for answering these questions for us.
What is your role in UWASCA?
I’m the President, as of the latest election.
How would you describe the club to the completely uninitiated?
It’s a really great place to meet new friends. I’m a first year and I pretty much had no-one when I first came to UWA. But thanks to UWASCA I’ve met some really amazing, awesome people. If you’re willing to learn and do some work you can also pick up a huge range of skills from people who are more than willing to teach you.
How long has the club existed on campus?
Since 2001, and this year is the Society of Creative Anachronism 50th anniversary. We’re a sort of subgroup of the SCA, which has many different semi-clubs all over Perth and Australia. The SCA has over 30,000 members worldwide, and there are also plenty of independent ‘medieval’ groups around as well.
What kind of events and activities do you guys run?
We hold an annual newcomer’s feast to welcome in first years, as well as a college challenge, which will be held on the 20/9 this year. It’s a fighting tournament which attracts groups all over Perth. We also go on various camps together as a club which are hosted by various groups.
Game of Thrones: yay or nay?
Yay, but maybe not to the extent most people expect. Some of us like GoT but honestly we don’t really talk about it or anything like that. I think we had a two hour long discussion about the animation dynamics of Avatar the Last Airbender. Go figure.
What are your thoughts about the recent removal of the Arts faculty’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies major?
It’s sad… but not really much to do with us. I highly doubt it will affect us very much. If it didn’t have the numbers to make it a viable major then I can understand that.
Do you think it will have an impact on future membership of the club?
It won’t. All of us are doing this as a hobby. I think a huge amount of us are doing science majors anyway. I think we would love to do medieval studies as a broadening unit but probably not as a major. Like I said however, it really sucks for people who want to dedicate their lives to historical study, and I feel for them.
Are most UWASCA members currently studying at UWA?
Eh, yes and no. We had elections because the former President graduated (and went back to Singapore for a while), the Vice-President was taking a semester off and the Secretary graduated. A small but still fair amount of the members just like the centrality of UWA, as well as the amount of room we have for activities, as opposed to other groups in Perth.
What advice would you give to anybody wanting to get involved in UWASCA?
If you have a sewing machine, bring it. If you want to get into fighting, you’re gonna get bruise.
But most of all, prepare to have fun.