The International Toy Research Association (ITRA)
is an association, which was created in 1993 for the purpose of promoting, stimulating and encouraging toy and plaything research all over the world in order to broaden and spread knowledge about toys and promote the development of good toys for children (and grown-ups).
ITRA further aims to support and cooperate with local, national, and international organizations having the same purposes, to organize and arrange meetings and issue publications concerning the purpose of the association.
The International Toy Research Association currently comprises 96 members from 18 countries. ITRA is run by an executive Board, which is elected during each ITRA conference.
The initiative to form an association for toy research was taken by
Professor Emeritus Brian Sutton- Smith, USA,
Professor Jeffrey Goldstein, Holland and
Author Jorn Martin Steenhold, Denmark.
Grants from the Toy Manufacturers of Europe (TME, Brussels) and the Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA, New York) enabled 16 researchers from 12 countries to meet in Utrecht, Holland, on September 10th 1993 to discuss aims and rules for an association for toy research. The meeting decided to form a work group for an International Toy Research Association (ITRA).
The ITRA pioneers were:
Kathleen Alfano, Fisher Price, E. Aurora, NY, USA
Birgitta Almqvist, Uppsala University, Sweden
Gilles Brougère, University Paris-Nord, France
Greta Fein, University of Maryland College Park MD, USA
Jeffrey Goldstein, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
Waltraut Hartman, University of Vienna, Austria
Joop Hellendorn, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
Rachel Karniol, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Stephen Kline, Simon Fraser University Vancouver, Canada
Anthony Pellegrini, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
Hein Retter, Technische Universität, Braunschweig, Germany
Jean-Pierre Rossie, University of Ghent, Belgium
Peter K. Smith, University of Sheffield, England
Gisela Wegener- Spöhring, Göttingen University, Germany
Jörn-Martin Steenhold, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, Denmark
Brian Sutton-Smith, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, USA
Also invited to the pioneer meeting but unable to attend –because of childbirth- were -
Cleo Gougoulis of Greece and
Jacqueline Jukes of the United Kingdom.
ITRA Prize for Outstanding Toy Research
(sponsored by the British Toy and Hobby Association)
The ITRA Prize was established in 2006 with generous support from the British Toy and Hobby Association [www.btha.co.uk]. The first ITRA Prize was awarded in July 2008 during the 5th ITRA conference in Nafplion, Greece. ITRA anticipates presenting two awards at each ITRA World Conference. One award of £500 will be given for the best student research on toys and one award of £1,000 to a senior scholar or practitioner on the uses, design and effects of toys.
The recipients receive a travel stipend of £500 toward the ITRA conference and will present their research at that conference.
The purpose of the ITRA Prize is to recognise outstanding research in the field of toy research. To qualify for the prize, the work must have been conducted or published since the previous ITRA World Conference (July 2018) and be submitted by the researcher or nominated by a member of ITRA.
Papers, either published or unpublished, in any area of toy research are eligible. Submissions should be in the English language (original or translation). Research on the uses, design, and effects of toys in child development, education, science, and medicine will be considered for the awards. Theoretical and historical papers will also be considered so long as these are linked to potential research.
Submissions of postgraduate dissertations or books are also welcome. These should be accompanied by a summary of 2500 - 3000 words. Hard copies of books should be provided to each prize committee member upon request.
The ITRA Awards Committee evaluate applications on the basis of originality, the significance of the work, creativity, methodology, clarity of presentation, and importance.
The ITRA membership is open to scientific researchers, practitioners and other persons and organizations wishing to follow what is currently going on in the field of toy research. Individuals, who would like to join ITRA, should fill in an application form and send it to Suzy Seriff, the ITRA Secretary, (e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration by the Board.
Members are asked to pay annual fees. After registration, members are included in the ITRA mailing list for the ITRA Newsletter and other relevant information.
Please note that according to the ITRA Board's decision in Alicante, 8th August 2005, conference fees cover ITRA membership fees until the following conference. This means that conference participants who paid full registration fees for the 8th ITRA conference in Paris, France, 2018 have been exempted from paying ITRA dues for the years 2019, 2020, 2021 and until the the 9th ITRA Conference.