by Jennifer Platt, Vice-President for Publications, ISA
ISA’s first newsletter was published in 1971; before then, its news items appeared in UNESCO publications. That was an important year in ISA history: this independent newsletter could report the creation of ordinary individual membership, the representation of Research Committees in ISA’s governance for the first time, and the opening of their membership. Before then, individuals could become ISA members only if there was no association to represent them, and RCs were small elite bodies joined by invitation.
The newsletter now communicated directly with individual members. Routine contents included election results, reports of EC meetings, news from RCs, obituaries of leading ISA figures, and World Congress announcements. Its format, with three columns of small print on each page, was not attractive, but the text became enlivened by photos, often informal ones of committee meetings. Leafing through, Magdalena Sokolowska appears unusually often in the 1970s – not without reason: she was in 1974 the first woman to become an EC member, and then Vice-President. Fernando Cardoso appears in 1982 in a glamorous leather bomber jacket, and photos of other well-known colleagues reveal that they too had long hair and were young once.
Now, with the resources of the internet at our disposal, a newsletter that is both more informative and better looking becomes practical, and member participation is expanded further.