January 20, 2015 - Comments Off on Judging: Updates

Judging: Updates

What a busy couple weeks! We've been scheduling judging sessions almost every day, and twelve of the judges have already come in (many of them twice.) We're just over halfway through the preliminary judging, and so thought it might be a good time for an update about the process.

Neal_judging
Neal Harris judging the Independent Category

A JUDGING SESSION

When the judge arrives at the IAO, he or she is presented with an envelope containing instructions and a judging form for each of the categories he is going to judge.

The scents are laid out on the tables; each vial is pre-labeled with only the tracking number, and is placed on top of its creative brief - as submitted by the perfumer (but with names and identifying text blacked out, if needed).

The judge then slowly makes his way around the table, taking breaks as needed. Depending on the judge, this can take up to 4 hours, and many judges choose to break it into several sessions.

We encourage the judges to read the creative brief first, then dip a scent strip into the vial of perfume and assess their first impressions of the scent. Judges often revisit scents, putting them on the skin for a secondary impression.

Once they have assessed the submissions, the judge goes around the table again, scoring the scents in their dry-down. At that stage the judge is encouraged to also score the intentionality and x-factor, as well.

To make sure the judges are all scoring the scents to similar parameters we've given them some instructions about the scoring categories (which, incidentally, they score on a scale of 1-5, where 1 is bad and 5 is good):

  • First Impressions: Judge this based on your impressions of the scent in the first 15 minutes. Use your own intuition about what you think constitutes a ‘good’ perfume, but here are some helpful questions: Do you like it? Do you hate it, but recognize its brilliance? Is it original? Is it banal? Is it well-balanced? Etc.
  • Wear-down: Judge this based on the scent’s performance in dry-down. Examples of questions to ask yourself: Do you like it? Do you hate it, but recognize its brilliance? Is it original? Is it banal? Does it retain its initial performance? Etc.
  • Intentionality of Scent: Judge this based on your impression of how well the scent fit the project description. Examples of questions to ask yourself: Did it reflect the stated intention? Did it seem like the perfumer was in control of the material (if appropriate)? Etc.
  • X-Factor: This is your opportunity to add points to a perfume that has a special something that speaks to you. Examples of questions to ask yourself: Does the perfume have something undefinable, that warrants note? Is the perfume an original interpretation of a familiar concept? Or is the perfume a total original? Does it evoke pleasant associations, for you? Etc.
Kj_Expe_judging
Judge Koan Jeff Baysa reading project briefs for the experimental category.

For the experimental submissions, the process is similar, except that the judges are aware of the artist's name and work, and have the opportunity to view supporting materials - images, video, sound - most often on the IAO's ancient but functional laptop.

Here are the instructions we gave the experimental judges:

  • Overall Project Concept: Judge this based on your impressions of the originality or the project, and the quality of execution of the overall project (including the non-scent components)
  • Use of scent: Judge this based on your impression of how well thought-out the use of scent was. Was it an add-on? Or did it infuse the entire project concept?
  • Intentionality of Scent: Judge this based on your impression of how well the scent fit the project’s needs. Did it support the overall project? Did it seem like the perfumer was ‘in control’ of the material (if appropriate)?
  • X-Factor: This is your opportunity to add points to a project that has a special something that speaks to you. Does the project have something undefinable, that warrants note?

Once a judge has finished going through the submissions, we ask him to take a moment to write down his impressions in all judging categories for their top scoring perfumes - identified, still, only by code. We enter those notes into a Google Form that goes to Dr. Claus Noppeney of Switzerland's Scent Culture Institute, in support of a research project he is conducting around the awards.

Bottles, and descriptions
Bottles, and descriptions

The judges' numerical scores are compiled and entered into a master database by the A+O Awards team- and are only visible to A+O Awards founder Saskia Wilson-Brown.

The scores for each submission are averaged, giving each submission its overall score -  which at this stage of the process is changing drastically each time a new scoring sheet arrives.

The judges' scoring sheets are then placed into an envelope and sealed. And that's about it!

THOUGHTS?

It is very important to us that the judging be as fair and consistent as possible, with maximum respect given to the excellent work that the perfume community has entrusted to us.

Serendipitously, every judge shares the same consideration and respect for the work: After all, these folks love perfume.

However, every process can always be better. Please share your thoughts or feedback by emailing us at hello@artandolfaction.com.

Published by: artandolfactionawards in process

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