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 Invitation to collaboration: call for TRACTS grants!   
We invite you to participate in Short-Term Scientific Missions (STSM) and Dissemination Conference grants. Both calls will remain open until the end of March, marking our inaugural call this year. These networking tools of scientific exchange present excellent opportunities for individual researchers to engage with the research community across their interests and various locations, potentially advancing your research on trace and expanding the professional network.   

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) facilitate exchange visits designed to enhance individual mobility and cultivate collaboration among COST Action Participants. An STSM is expected to make specific contributions to the scientific objectives of the COST Action while affording participants the opportunity to acquire new research skills and gain access to specific data, instruments, or methods unavailable in their home institutions or organizations. The primary goal of an STSM is to empower applicants to enhance or broaden their research on trace in the context of social justice, climate change, and technological influence on society. Participation is open to those addressing the conceptual, methodological, and ethical challenges of trace in Europe and beyond. Additionally, the research conducted during an STSM can be widely disseminated through TRACTS communication and dissemination channels. The financial support for this mechanism is set at €14,000.00 for this year. 

TRACTS also provides financial support for network members attending high-level conferences to present the Action's activities and results through oral presentations, fostering the development of new contacts and potential future collaborations. Furthermore, there is an opportunity to support young researchers, including PhD students, PhD candidates, young researchers, and innovators affiliated with institutions in an Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC) or Near Neighbour Country.
Each Dissemination Conference grant offers up to €1,200, while each Inclusiveness Target Country grant provides up to €1,000. We encourage you to explore and take advantage of this invitation to identify the best conferences for your participation!   

Find more on how to apply and use these opportunities! You might also contact Tina Palaić, our Short Term Scientific Missions Coordinator, and Miguel Errazu, Grant Awarding Coordinator. 
2024 TRACTS calendar  
The approaching spring is packed with a variety of TRACTS events!

22-24 February
The first meeting, organized by Working Group 4, will be held in Cornwall. The Symposium on Traces and Technology within the framework of Working Group 4 is designed to consolidate previous training and will draw on local expertise on tracing technologies of the past (traces of the mining industry and British Telecommunications infrastructure in Goonhilly). Participants will be asked to develop an advanced outline and abstract for a journal special issue.

4-5 April  
The Annual Meeting combined with the Ethics Editorial Meeting will take place at the Charles University, Prague. The annual in-person MC meeting will address the networking needs of the network, as well as include interactive sessions to exchange current debates about the trace among researchers in Central and East Europe. Time in Prague will also be allocated for the Core Group Meetings and discussions within Working Group 1 about special issues on Trace and Ethics.

11-12 April

Our meeting in Palermo, Italy on '(Counter) Cartographies – Theoretical, Methodological, and Ethical Approaches to the Traces across Disciplines' will include networking and writing. Participants will present and discuss their chapter drafts for the opening volume of the new TRACTS book series.

The final April meeting will be held in Ljubljana, Slovenia (April 25th to 26th).

This will be a collaboration of Working Groups 2 and 3. The main topic of this cross-connection is 'Connecting Lines – Tracing Climate Change and Social Justice from the Perspective of Historically Deprived Communities.' The call for this event is coming soon! Please check our network’s website and follow us on social media (@TRACTS_Network) for up-to-date Action news and announcements, and stay in touch with the TRACTS calendar! 

Practicing Collection Ethics toolkit

We are thrilled to announce the publication of the inaugural TRACTS toolkit! This open-access resource aims to go beyond formal guidelines and codes of ethics. By posing questions and illustrating them with real-world examples, the toolkit serves as a catalyst for reflection on ethical dilemmas faced by curators and other museum and archive professionals. Edited by Tina Palaić, Magdalena Buchczyk, and Aimée Joyce, and designed by Melissa Cerić in Ljubljana in 2023, this toolkit is a valuable addition to the field. 
 
Complementing existing guidelines and codes of ethics in the field, such as the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, the toolkit engages professionals by posing questions and providing concrete examples for reflection. It can be used in various ways, including self-guided learning, group discussions, workshops, project evaluations, or policy formulation. Interacting with these themes empowers practitioners to navigate the challenging terrain of ethically informed collection practices. 
 
You can download the toolkit here

Year’s overview from the Working Group Leaders

WG1 

In 2023, Working Group 1 advanced important objectives and developed new milestones in line with the network's ongoing reflections on the conceptual, methodological, and ethical implications of researching traces and the research practices related to them. Activities, short-term scientific missions, and scholarly outputs served as opportunities to think across TRACTS' three central themes: social justice, climate crisis, and technology.  

This was most clearly articulated in a series of transversal meetings with the Counter Atlas Curatorial Collective, allowing Working Group leaders and network members to discuss the form the Atlas could take and the types of collaboration and dialogue essential for transforming this idea into reality. Similarly, the "Publishing Futures Workshop" during the 2023 MC Meeting initiated conversations regarding the network's legacy editorial project—the TRACTS book series. Stay tuned for more information!   Finally, Working Group 1 organized the first part of a two-part series of Training Schools focusing on experimental multimodal approaches to producing knowledge. "Archival Memories: Image, Sequence, Knowledge," hosted by ReCNTR at Leiden University, brought together 15 researchers and practitioners engaging with the photo essay as a mode of producing image-driven scholarship. 

WG1 

In 2023, Working Group 1 advanced important objectives and developed new milestones in line with the network's ongoing reflections on the conceptual, methodological, and ethical implications of researching traces and the research practices related to them. Activities, short-term scientific missions, and scholarly outputs served as opportunities to think across TRACTS' three central themes: social justice, climate crisis, and technology.  

This was most clearly articulated in a series of transversal meetings with the Counter Atlas Curatorial Collective, allowing Working Group leaders and network members to discuss the form the Atlas could take and the types of collaboration and dialogue essential for transforming this idea into reality. Similarly, the "Publishing Futures Workshop" during the 2023 MC Meeting initiated conversations regarding the network's legacy editorial project—the TRACTS book series. Stay tuned for more information!   Finally, Working Group 1 organized the first part of a two-part series of Training Schools focusing on experimental multimodal approaches to producing knowledge. "Archival Memories: Image, Sequence, Knowledge," hosted by ReCNTR at Leiden University, brought together 15 researchers and practitioners engaging with the photo essay as a mode of producing image-driven scholarship. 

WG2
During TRACTS' second year, Working Group 2 continued to grow in membership and widen its scope of interest while simultaneously showing a vital need to converge and consolidate common interests—Traces and Social Justice—across working groups.  

The hybrid, interdisciplinary workshop "Tracing Temporalities, Unearthing Archives," co-organized by members of WG2 and WG3 in April 2023 in Berlin, Potsdam, and online, gathered established and early-career scholars to critically explore the ethics of collections in museums and geological archives through the lens of temporality.  

The multimodal training school "Unearthing Traces of European Conflicts: Materiality, Memory, & Technology," organized by Laura-Muñoz Encinar and hosted by INCIPIT CSI, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in September 2023, focused on the material traces of contemporary European conflicts and their impact in the present.  

The workshop "Care and Repair: Ungendering Memory and Museum Practices" in October 2023 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, explored possible methodologies and approaches to tracing alternative narratives of gender, female empowerment, and the hegemony of the essentialized gender binary in museum studies. The event specifically focused on methods of collaboration and co-creation with various publics to examine how to care for gender narratives and build infrastructures of care in an equitable and inclusive manner. Since autumn 2023, the co-chair of Working Group 2 has been Karolina Paukerova (Charles University, Prague), who will be responsible for organizing the Management Committee meeting in 2024.

WG3

During the second year of the TRACTS Cost Action, WG3 has increased the number of working group members to 142, which is a clear indicator of the growing interest in the topics that have been worked on.

In 2023, Working Group 3 organized two workshops. The first one, entitled "Tracing Temporalities, Unearthing Archives," was held in collaboration with WG2 in Berlin and Potsdam at the end of April. A month later, on June 1st and 2nd, WG3 organized the seminar "From the Archive to the Atlas" in Lausanne in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.   Both events enabled the discussion and exchange of topics central to the interests of TRACTS Cost Action. This involves the ethical commitments of those actively engaged in the preservation and nurturing of memories, particularly those associated with vulnerable individuals. It also encompasses the development of effective strategies to safeguard, disseminate, and curate documents, as well as the communities intricately linked to their creation and distribution.  

WG4

It was a year of cross-disciplinary insights. Working Group 4 consists of an eclectic mix of STEM, social and applied scientists, artists, as well as arts and humanities scholars interested in investigating the interplay between society, traces, innovation, and technologies. As a diverse group, it is Working Group 4's principle and vision to always include a group visit to a museum unique to its host city. This creates a unique opportunity for group members to get out of their usual scholarly habitat and exchange cross-disciplinary ideas while enjoying a shared museum experience.

In the second year of the Action, WG4 convened the following events: in November 2022, it was "Capacity Training on Technology Policy" (with Experts from the European Space Agency and Homer Tactile Museum), convened at Ancona, Italy. The training school was hosted at the Università Politecnica delle Marche.  

WG4 also gathered in Zagreb, Croatia, on June 30 and July 1 and was hosted at the University of Zagreb. The group explored the policy and societal implications associated with the increasing commercialization of technologies. The group visited The Museum of Broken Relationships. Participants identified that technologies increasingly interface with societies rapidly.  

To further advance a shared understanding of best practices in managing rapid technological developments, the group devised the TECHnaissance Collection—a framework that would allow the capturing of past lessons learned regarding science and technologies (S&T).

WG5

The main task of Working Group 5 in 2023 was to support the TRACTS network with communication activities. The first meeting in January was held in Valetta, Malta, where participants were involved in a workshop based on the TRACTS communication strategy. The regular meetings of Working Group 5 took place every first Tuesday, through which we made progress on getting better networked with other groups to be communicative. The major work of Working Group 5 was towards a consensus on the architecture of the new digital tool and content, and for 2024, this is still the main challenge.

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