Every successive president has brought a particular emphasis and focus to the work of the Society and to some extent has placed their particular stamp on the Society for the period of their presidency. However one fact is inescapable: the domination of InSEA by the Western world and by the English language – a majority of InSEA's presidents have spoken English as their native tongue. This is a precedent that is overdue for change.
Jane Rhoades Hudak, InSEA's archivist, has provided a thumbnail sketch of the achievements of each presidency. Throughout the early period from 1951–1960 Edwin Ziegfeld served as president and by the end of his presidency the Society had some one thousand members. He established a sound organisational structure and achieved the majority of the goals established at the early General Assemblies. Indeed, the basic structure of the organisation today would easily be recognised by Ziegfeld as it has essentially changed very little in the intervening years.
Presidents of InSEA*
|1960-1963||Charles D Gaitskell, Canada|
|1963-1966||J A Soika, Federal Republic of Germany|
|1966-1969||Sabura Kurata, Japan|
|1969-1973||Eleanor Hipwell ,United Kingdom|
|1973-1976||Aimée Humbert, France|
|1976-1979||Albert Hurwitz , USA|
|1979-1982||Jack Condous, Australia|
|1982-1985||Brian Allison , United Kingdom|
|1985-1988||Marie-Françoise Chavanne, France|
|1988-1991||Elliot Eisner ,USA|
|1991-1993||Ana Mae Barbosa, Brazil|
|1993-1996||John Steers, United Kingdom|
|1996-1999||Kit Grauer, Canada|
|2000-2003||Diederik Schönau, The Netherlands|
|2003-2006||Doug Boughton, Australia|
|2006-2009||Anne Kuo, Taiwan|
|Rita Irwin, Canada|
|2014- 2019||Teresa Torres de Eça, Portugal|
The records for the presidencies of Gaitskell, Soika and Kurata have not survived. However a key achievement of Gaitskell’s term was the merger of the FEA and InSEA. Soika presided over an exceptionally successful conference in Prague, attended by over 2000 people. Kurata’s presidency was marred by financial irregularities of which, I should emphasise, he was unaware and uninvolved. He presided over the first New York World Congress and was characterised by Jane Rhoades who met him late in his life as ‘… one of the most extraordinarily intuitive, gentle and sensitive people I have ever had the chance to meet’.(12)
Subsequently Eleanor Hipwell was faced with re-establishing the Society. Jane Rhoades concluded that she: … ‘saved’ InSEA. The organisational structure and processes were broken down. She put the organisation back into the black financially and reorganised the Society.13 The 1970s marked a period of consolidation with much of the focus of activity on organising a sequence of significant world congresses. The detailed records of the Humbert and Hurwitz era are lost but from Condous’s time on there is a detailed and continuous record. Allison was a particularly energetic and ambitious president. He established the InSEA regions and set up a structure of Recognised National Organisation and Affiliates, very much in the spirit of the founders’ intentions. The constitution and rules were revised and guidelines for various activities, such as organising congresses, were drawn up. Boards of Council were established to deal with research, affiliations and publications and, for a time, a relationship flourished with the Bulgarian international ‘Banner of Peace’ movement.
In 1982 Allison brought me into the InSEA Executive Committee as secretary and I served as member of the committee continuously in one capacity or another until 1999. I have had the privilege of working with eight world presidents between 1982 and now, as well as serving myself for a term as president. I can testify to the commitment and dedication to the Society of all these individuals and from personal experience I learned how demanding it is to try to lead an international organisation with far-ranging ideals and ambitions but with very limited financial resources. Chavanne strengthened links again with UNESCO, Eisner secured funding for an initiative that lead to publication of one of the most substantive published documents in InSEA history: 'Evaluating and Assessing the Visual Arts in Education: International Perspectives'.14 Barbosa very significantly raised the profile of the organisation in Latin America and Grauer's lasting achievement may well prove to be the establishment of InSEA on the Internet. Schönau consolidated this work, strengthened the Society’s finances and worked to re-vitalise relationships with UNESCO. The current president, Doug Boughton has a long association with InSEA: his fine work as co-editor of the assessment publication was followed by two further titles for InSEA where Boughton was instrumental in seeing these works through to publication.15 The key initiative at the present time is the imminent publication early in 2005 of the ‘International Journal for Education through Art’.