Beyond Wychwood

This page is intended to be a brief overview of the rest of re-enactment, a list of useful links.

At the moment, all I have time to put up is:

The Overview

The UK is home to thousands of re-enactors from pre-historic to 1st Gulf War. Different periods tend to be different in their organisation, how events are run, and in numbers. Later groups have firearms laws to contend with. The whole lot is represented, at least nominally, by the National Association of Re-Enactment Societies, who's role in recent years has been to fight our corner against careless legislation.
A step down the food chain from NAReS are large, national, societies or federations, with enough members to qualify for NAReS membership. Our period (re-enactors call it "Dark Ages") is dominated by two large societies - Regia Angolorum and The Vikings!. DAS, the Dark Ages Society, is somewhere between a national society and local society. They are members of NAReS, but have enough members that you'll get to know them all within a few events. They also cover a period similar to ours, have great feasts, and have several Wychwooders in their ranks (Shelagh, Dom and Bunni are all members and other Wychwooders have visited). This is a review of a typical DAS weekend.
Later periods have similarly large societies, like the Sealed Knot, others have federations - Medieval Seige Society, Early Medieval Alliance and so on. The principle difference is in the degree of centralised control exercised - Societies generally keep a tighter rain on their member groups, with centrally laid out training proccesses, and the inevitable bureaucracy and politics that comes with central administration, Federations tend to be looser umbrella groups, made up of individual societies, generally without strong ties of control, often still with a degree of politics.
At the bottom of the food chain are local groups, whether they are part of a large society or wholly independent. These are vastly varied, from student societies (like us) to specialised groups (like gunners), usually with their own traditions and peculiarities.

Internationals

Re-enactment is global. There are a number of events where you can fight Russians, Czech, French and Americans. There is even talk of a multinational group (Franco-Flemish Alliance, originally a temporary umbrella group to get people to a big Hastings). There are already societies with a multinational tinge - both the Vike and Regia have North American branches, and InterMedieval still regularly runs an international event in portugal.
There is occasionally criticism of foriegn re-enactors on grounds of safety. In a fair proportion of cases this is because of differences in fighting rules, styles and acceptable levels of armour.

"Politics"

When "politics" is mentioned in re-enactment circles, they are not talking about the general election. They are talking about the internal politics of groups and societies. A lot of re-enactors try to avoid being involved one way or another, and this is generally a good course to take. Wychwood is thankfully largely free of politics, but there are still the remains of feuds with ex-members in the committee files, so Beware of Politics.

The Other Lot

At some point, probably at freshers fair, an American will confuse wychwood with the SCA, so you might as well know who you're being mistaken for. The Society for Creative Anachronisms is an international society which does medievalesque stuff. They fighting primarily with rattan weapons, and (IMO remarkably horrible) helmets with bar-grills welded to the front. The general attitude of Re-enactors is to look down on the SCA because of their attitude to steel, and the authenticity thing. There are an awful lot of arguements about how fair this attitude is, but by and large it's the attitude. Rumour has it that within the SCA, mainstream re-enactment is viewed as hideously dangerous because of the steel weapons.

The National Association of Re-Enactment Societies (NAReS)
http://www.nares.org.uk/
NAReS produces some useful guidance notes - the best of which is the Film and TV note. Bear in mind these notes are written from a large society perspective.

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