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Dr. Aimée Joyce receives COST Action award

9 June 2021

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Aimée Joyce has won a COST Action award funded by the EU Commission for Science and Innovation, worth a total of £500,000.

It is the first time that the Department of Social Anthropology will host the award, which begins this year. Dr Aimée Joyce is the principal organiser on the newly established network TRACTS: Trace as a Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice (COST Action 20134). The network will run over four years and brings together scholars, professionals, activists and artists from ten different countries and twelve different institutions.

A trace, be it object, trail, ruin, archival record, or memory, is both a mark and a track of the past and the future, that can be found and followed in the present. Scientific research on trace and the use of tracing as a conceptual or analytical tool permeates many fields: from heritage and museum collections, analyses of landscape and environmental impact, through investigations of colonial legacies in political institutions and Europe-wide remnants of mass violence, to studies of personal digital footprints, GPS tracking and technologies of surveillance. Surprisingly, however, the theoretical and methodological approaches to analysing traces have never been comprehensively coordinated across disciplines and research practices.

TRACTS brings scholars from disciplines of the social sciences and humanities, together with visual and sound artists, curators, decolonial activists, memorialization experts and legal professionals to bridge current cultural, political and geographical gaps in European research on traces. In response to the recent waves of populism, actors as diverse as environmentalists, human rights activists, and museum professionals have been confronting and creatively deploying the legacies of the long 20th century in Europe. This shows no sign of abating in a world marked by rapid technological, environmental and socio-economic changes. As such, mapping the challenges in the realms of social justice, climate change, and technological influence on society requires reflecting on and producing new understandings regarding trace.

TRACTS network is an Early and Mid-Career led endeavour. It engages the concept of traces to formulate collaborative and transformative research agendas and create new paradigms in social sciences and humanities. Focusing on the conceptual methodological and ethical challenge of traces, TRACTS develops a comprehensive research coordination and training program, including experimental knowledge production and training for future research leaders. TRACTS will host symposia, workshops, and research meetings to provide a platform for collaboration and exchange in order to advance the state of the art. We look forward to sharing joint publications, conceptual, ethical and methodological advancement, Traces Atlas, podcasts, exhibitions, mentoring, and a research database with you all over the next four years.

We anticipate growing the network globally and thematically in the coming years. Please contact Dr Aimée Joyce at aj69@st-andrews.ac.uk with any questions.