TRACTS stands for 'Trace as a research agenda for climate change, technology studies, and social justice'. TRACTS is a COST Action (2021–2025) that brings together scholars from disciplines of the social sciences and humanities with artists, decolonial activists, memorialization experts and legal professionals to bridge current cultural, political and geographical gaps in research on traces. The network is open and inclusive and you can join any time.

Apply to join TRACTS COST Action

For more details read our Memorandum of Understanding

Our vision

The aim of this network is to reformulate the state-of-the-art in the research on traces through interdisciplinary networking and research coordination. An inclusive network on traces in the context of the current pressing challenges of social justice, climate change and technology can inform transformative research agendas and create new paradigms in the social sciences and humanities in Europe and beyond.

We understand trace broadly as a phenomenon (an object/trail/ruin/archival record/memory/etc.) that is both a mark and a track of the past and the future, that can be found and followed in the present. In particular the action is focused on rethinking how we work with traces ethically, methodologically, and conceptually. We believe the best way to do this is through an interdisciplinary network of global scholars.

What we do

The action consists of meetings, training schools, scientific missions, and grants. In these events the focus is on experimental, interdisciplinary, creative and socially engaged means of collaborating and sharing research.

By bringing together scholars, practitioners, and activists from a range of different disciplines and interest areas, we hope to establish links across the existing literature and research and identify new directions for those of us working with traces. The intention is that the outcomes of working together should range from the scholarly to the practical, to the experimental!  

How we work

The activities of the TRACTS COST Action are delivered by our Working Groups (WG). You can learn more about their WG activities and the leadership team here.


In response to the recent waves of populism, actors as diverse as environmentalists, human rights activists, and curators have been confronting and creatively deploying the legacies of the 20th century. This shows no sign of abating in a Europe marked by rapid technological, environmental and socio-economic changes. As such, mapping the challenges in the realms of social justice, climate change, and technological impact on society requires reflecting on and producing new understandings regarding traces. This Action gathers a critical mass of scholars and practitioners at a crucial juncture of the European project. 

About COST Actions

A COST Action is an interdisciplinary research network that brings researchers and innovators together to investigate a topic of their choice for 4 years. 

Open to all science and technology fields, including new and emerging fields; COST Actions offer an inclusive, pan-European environment for individuals of all levels of seniority to grow their professional research networks and boost their careers. 

By focusing on networking activities, COST Actions help to advance knowledge and strengthen the research and development sector, by creating networking opportunities for researchers to meet and discuss ideas, complex problems can be addressed in a targeted way, across a large geographical area. Learn more about COST Actions.