Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Judging Thematic Exhibit


Topical Time

Topical Time is a  specialized  journal on Thematic Philately issued by American Topical Association



- Naresh Agarwal

What to do to overcome the constant problem of judging thematic exhibits at higher level. Various suggestions have been given and ideas put forward but all in vain. It is not that easy to make big changes in the existing system of judging. Thematic exhibit is always a very common but a very difficult class a of philately because it contains a big element of thematic content around which the entire story line and exhibiting of philatelic elements revolves. It is highly painful to note that judges forget to give due importance to this aspect on which a big research is done by an exhibitor. The reasons are obvious that no juror can be master of so many subjects to understand the thematic aspects at that level. But in thematic judging, the thematic element carries very high marks. Some times also such items are displayed in the exhibit which do not appears to have direct relation with the theme yet those are very importance and highly suitable. And here the jury fails to understand the contents and the items and so lowers the scores. Some times the jury fails to understand or identify the newly discovered philatelic items and treat those as illegal or fake or irrelevant or unsuitable or banned. In one case in INPEX 2008, one of the souvenir sheet displayed in Gandhi exhibit was considered as a photo and the marks were lowered, in another case the jury failed to identify even the properly marked perforation errors, the error sheet on display was considered wastage of the space, stamps on wheels in an exhibit on Automobiles were considered to be wrong as the jury considered evolution of wheels had nothing to do with the evolution of automobiles, and so on …….examples are numerous where the jury totally failed and misunderstood the contents and the displayed items. And the exhibitor became the victim of their ignorance/ lack of knowledge. Various suggestions have been given such as :

1. Academic courses for jury followed by appropriate tests. i.e. opening of academies

2. Apprentice jury to be given appropriate training

3. Hiring of local experts on particular subject to check / to give their opinion on thematic part of the exhibit

4. Invitation to the exhibitor at the venue during judgment so that necessary discussion could be done with him

5. Deployment of a referee with a team of experts or senior philatelists at the venue to look in to the grievances of the exhibitors and to solve them prior to the declaration of the results 6. Inviting the Xerox copies of the exhibits well in advance and providing copies of them to the jury for pre-preparation

7. Making a separate wing of thematic experts to help the jury and the exhibitors

8. Providing a team of stenos along with the jury to give explanation and detailed comments on the shortcomings of the exhibitor with special remarks on the Xerox copies provided. Presently given mark sheet is not enough to really understand the areas where the jury deducted the marks and the areas which have been appreciated.

9… Arrangement to consult senior philatelists present at the venue during exhibition on voluntary basis.

10. Looking in to the vastness of the thematic philately ,it may be subdivided in to different wings such as philosophy, personalities, science and technology, flora and fauna, religion etc… this will help a lot in judging the exhibit’s thematic elements.

11. Number of jury to be increased so that more time is allocated for judging the exhibits.

12. Different chapters on thematic philately may be opened to guide and help both the juror and the exhibitors.

13. An official panel of senior and experienced philatelists may be framed to give postal guidance to the thematic philatelists on payment.( philatelists who have got higher awards in National or International exhibition may be placed on the panel along with the jurors at these levels)

14. Jury look forward for the old, rare, newly searched and most relevant items in the exhibit which either they miss out or waste sufficient time in finding them out. So, a separate sheet should be provided by exhibitor to the jury ( to be sent along with exhibit)highlighting those items with sheet numbers.

15. One thing the exhibitor must keep in mind that with the same material there can be a better award up to two grades. This depends upon various factors such presentation ,fitment of the philatelic material in the storyline, placement of the material on the sheets, fitment of sheets on the frames ,nature and quality of write up and so on.

16. Of course, comparison is done with the other exhibits ,but keep in mind that every exhibit is different and differently displayed .Yes, gross mistakes are not excusable like skipping out the banned / illegal items in an exhibit.

17. Encouraging the local societies and clubs. Gross help by the deptt. Or other organizations to them to build good library and to provide subsidized guidance, assessment, evaluation services.

18. Check upon the philatelic dealers to provide genuine philatelic items to the exhibitors and to give proper and genuine information about it. Because most of us buy these items from the philatelic dealers and are also sometimes misguided which results in lowering of marks during judging.

I hope the above few suggestions will be thought over by the readers to improve the quality of their exhibit to help judges to judge better and to produce better judges. Comments are welcome from the readers.

Naresh Agrawal : 

Bilaspur ( C.G.)  Ph . 09425530514