How to track and trace responsibly?

How to make technologies of tracking and tracing ethical and sustainable?

Hybrid WG 4 Meeting

Dates: 30 June – 1 July 2023

Venue: University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Geography, Ilica 242, HR-10000 Zagreb

Following on from the capacity building of WG4 and the promotion of commonalities identified at the exploratory workshop in Exeter and the training school in Ancona, this meeting will provide an opportunity for members of WG to apply the skills developed at the capacity building event to consolidate the interdisciplinary dialogue. The planned outcome will be a policy-relevant edited volume/special issue. It will include recommendations on how to use new technologies to address global challenges (e.g. climate change, ensuring global transparency in governance) in a responsible and sustainable way (e.g. tools to identify AI-enabled (fake) images or the introduction of smart collection of "track-and-trace" data to ensure that privacy is respected). Members will benefit from the opportunity to synergise and reconcile disciplinary differences to advance a book or special issue project. The event is focused on solving future global problems using historical data/traces and is a good place to establish best practises that facilitate meaningful interdisciplinary discussions, especially between applied scientists and professionals in the arts or humanities. The event will provide a forward-looking, discipline-neutral framework for synthesising different visions for the responsible use of traces and new technologies. The meeting will also include ideas and discussions on a new toolkit for the use of technologies in traces, which will be coordinated by WG4. The event will contribute to Research Coordination Objectives 1, 2, 3 and 5, and Capacity Building Objective 2 (see Memorandum of Understanding for more information).

Coordinated by leaders of the WG4: Dr Nikita Chiu and Dr Ivan Sulc

Host and local organizer: Dr Ivan Sulc, Assistant Professor, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Geography

TRACTS MC meeting this year took place at Ethnographic Museum in Kraków on the 8th of March. Participants discussed plans, decided about details of futures events and working plans. Afternoon all group inspired by artist Eliza Proszczuk took part in joint embroidery of a tablecloth talking about traces of sisterhood.

Participants of Management Committee voted for change on the position of Science Communication Coordinator. After one year of work made by Eliza Proszczuk (thank you, Eliza!) this will be done by Magdalena Zych and Bahanur Nasya. The other topic of work: future toolkit for museums, structures of training schools, TRACTS counterAtlas, plans for 3 and 4 year of cooperation. The meeting was held in hybrid form.

TRACTS MC meeting after main sessions - sisterhood in practice: Isto Huvila, Aimée Joyce, Katarzyna Nesterowicz/ photo by Marcin Nowicki
Rui Gomes Coelho at TRACTS MC meeting: Kraków 8th March 2023/ photo by Marcin Nowicki
TRACTS MC meeting participants: Kraków 8th March 2023
Katarzyna Nesterowicz at exhibition POWERBANK/ The Strenght of Women/ photo by Marcin Nowicki

Rui Gomes Coelho wrote about the exhibition at Ethnographic Museum:

"The show brings visibility to the histories of women that entered the museum collection in the form of everyday objects, political documents, visual representations, and family narratives. A timely and powerful political statement in Poland and Europe."

Museum's director Monika Dudek, Magdalena Zych, Dorota Majkowska-Szajer/ photo by Marcin Nowicki

The evening passed at the soundTRACTS event by DJ and sound artist Joanna Grochulska, the concert was connected with exhibition POWERBANK/ The Strength of Women.

soundTRACTS by DJ virtual geisha / photo by Marcin Nowicki

Meeting in Malta

(The meeting agenda can be found at Malta 20/21 Jan 2023)

Summary of proceedings of formal meetings held as arranged at St Martin's Institute, Malta (SMI) with thanks to Mr Charles Theuma (Principal) and the IT/catering support team at SMI, and to COST for financial support that made the meeting possible.

While the agenda advanced in the meeting invitation was broadly covered, the sequence of discussions and activities varied in the event. A Zoom recording of the proceedings is archived by SMI. Credit to all participants, but notably Noviki team, for photographs and video recordings.

List of WG Attendees in Person:

Bahanur Naysa (WG5 Leader and Co-Chair); David Bevan (Co-Chair); Eliza Proszczuk; Menna Hendawy; Nurinisa Esenbuga; Mustafa Yaprak; Magdalene Zych; Marcin Nowicki; and Katarzyna Nestorwicz.

On Friday 20 January

Introductions: David Bevan (for SMI) opened the meeting, welcoming WG5 members attending in person. Introductions and interests were identified and discussed. Johathan Barbara (WG1 and the only other current member of this action from Malta) also joined at this point. (90 mins)

The group discussed drawing up a process manual for the use of other WG so that each group has a model for regular and independent communication updates. The manual is in development and a further report on progress will come (here) in a February news update. There were frequent references to 'the glossary' which is being compiled by WG1, 2, 3 and 4 for the benefit of Atlas and significant further discussion of potential codes/terms. (90 min)

Over lunch and beyond, we extensively reviewed the activities of each WG (representatives of each group were present). (120 min)

The group left the meeting room (and stopped hybrid/recording) at 3pm for a visit to the Virtual Reality Lab at SMI. Jonathan Barbara introduced how VR has been adopted for experiential simulation in respect of anthropological traces. The group was given demonstrations of a fully developed VR model of a local archeological relic - The Hypogeum in Paola, Malta. David Bevan then described briefly, and with reference to Paul Ricoeur's concept of "the trace" (as an antecedent to all archives, and all history)  the value of a compelling, theoretical/intellectual underpinning to the interests of the Action.  On screen, Jonathan Barbara then demonstrated a maquette and a development version of SMI's proposed time-elapse map of Malta from mid 17th century to present. This map focuses - for the sake of having an example - on the microsite of what was originally an olive grove, and which has developed into a large town over ensuing centuries of varied occupation and use. The features of this map are based on historic maps of Malta from C1650 to present day, and could be the basis of an approach to realising at least one aspect of a prototype Atlas. (>60 min)

Saturday 21 January

We opened with a round table discussion of what we each know of the other WG in which we are involved. We considered extensively how we can support the action concretely by reference to WG5 concerns. With the benefit of Noviki team being present, we were able to work collaboratively on the communications channels and technology in real time. Gabi Neagu joined the meeting via Zoom. (180 min). 

After lunch a series of direct actions and responsibilities were agreed principally to engage optimally and effectively with the other Action participants. It was agreed that to encourage activity and participation, a monthly prize might be offered for the least communicative group (out of 1, 2, 3, 4): the prize would be determined by Noviki. On line materials for WG5 concerning this meeting were uploaded in the remaining 2 hours. WG5 will host a monthly online meeting  - WG5 Leader will send Zoom invitations subsequently - for the first Tuesday of every month for the rest of 2023 at noon CET.

The meeting closed at 4pm.

Meeting Agenda

Timing: 10.00-15.00hrs (CET) Friday 20, and Saturday 21 January 2023 

Venue: Boardroom. Second Floor, New Building, St Martin's Institute, 116 Triq Joe Sciberras, Hamrun, HMR1557

Organizers: David Bevan (WG5 Co-Chair, Host) and Bahanur Nasya (WG5 Leader and Co Chair)

Hybrid participation is available.


Friday 20 Jan

09.30 Welcome
10.00 Team and member introductions
11.00 working procedures for WG5
12:00 Thorough review of TRACTS agenda and activities and of WG5 supporting actions, commitments and members. Scope and limits of communications and supporting technology
13.00 Lunch break 
14.00 Relations with TRACTS WG 1 & 2 and functional communication channels including hybrid contributions
14.30 Relations with TRACTS WG 3 & 4 and functional communication channels including hybrid contributions
15.00 Completing / updating web entries & newsletter & social media actions
16,00 Close

Saturday 21 Jan

09.30 Welcome
10.00 Meetings (hybrid) as arranged and scheduled with other TRACTS participants and supporters to plan communications activities and communications for 2023 onwards
12:00 Lunch break
13.00 Presentation of the action to local people/hybrid/recorded
15.00 Summarise proceedings and actions agreed
16.00 Close

What are the ethical challenges of tracing temporalities and researching collections in museums and earth archives?

We are delighted to invite you to the hybrid TRACTS workshop of WG2 and WG3.

WHEN:  27 - 28 April 2023

WHERE: Berlin and Potsdam

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP: Collections are sites for preserving traces of the past for the future. Acquired, cared for, and interpreted in museums and archives, they have been developed concurrently with scientific disciplines. In geosciences, collections of geological and stratigraphic specimens extracted from territories worldwide have served to mark deep time. They contribute to the scientific imagination of nature that can be contained and classified. Ethnographic collections acquired to represent peoples and cultures have rendered them as if frozen in time. Conservation practice has worked to keep objects timeless, reflecting the moment they entered the collection. This ahistorical perspective is entangled with coloniality and continues to affect collections' classification, safekeeping, and interpretation. This poses ethical challenges for both collections comprising ethnographic objects and those acquired in earth archives, holding records of human and more-than-human pasts.

Collections seek to tell a coherent story about “nature” or “culture” from traces of social lives and geological formations. However, these traces and their environments defy and challenge the classificatory efforts and measurement practices. Although collections are kept to span through time, their objects are not timeless. They require vast energy, materials, and infrastructure. The cost of prolonging the lives of things and keeping collections stable in museums and scientific archives creates ethical dilemmas regarding resource management, preservation, and sustainability.

Organized by the COST Action “Trace as a Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice” (TRACTS), we critically explore the ethics of collections in museums and geological archives through the lens of temporality. The event seeks to ignite an interdisciplinary exchange between the disparate fields of inquiry in the critical studies of different forms of collections and archives. Using a range of case studies of collections and (earth) archives, we dig into the ethics of acquisition, preservation, interpretation, use, and re-activation of this material today and explore its potential for the future.

COORDINATORS: Magdalena Buchczyk, Martin Fonck, Tina Palaic and Tomas Uson


TRACTS members and interested members of the public can our event online

Meeting ID: 837 5454 3844

Passcode: 627687