“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” – Dr Maya Angelou
EUROTAST was an interdisciplinary research project exploring the history and contemporary legacies of the transatlantic slave trade. Through a network of 13 PhD projects, our research used state of the art technology to reconstruct demographic and genetic links between Africa and the transatlantic diaspora; and to better understand African life cycles and experiences under slavery through bio-archaeology. We also addressed the ways in which this history is negotiated and memorialized though ritual, heritage tourism and DNA ancestry testing. Working collaboratively under a holistic Marie Curie training model, we advanced academic research and improved public understanding of this traumatic episode in human history.
Our Pan-European network was comprised of ten academic partners and one industrial partner and involved leading international researchers from a wide range of disciplines, including some that are not traditionally associated with slave trade research, such as genetics. By bringing in experts from these various fields – conducting research in Africa, North America, South America and the Caribbean – we developed new data that added to our knowledge of how the slave trade operated and addressed its impact on the population histories of the world.
The diversity of the EUROTAST network in terms of discipline and levels of prior exposure to this history, offered critical opportunities for learning and professional development. We had a unique opportunity to deliver a training package that encouraged interdisciplinary thinking and helped to bridge the gap between the sciences and humanities. Through a programme of themed symposia, coupled with critical workshops in professional development skills, our fellows shared research experiences and collectively examined and questioned the cultural, socio-political and ethical framework underpinning their work in this field.
Dissemination and Outreach
EUROTAST explored the implications of its research in engagement with wider audiences, particularly in partner and international stakeholder locations. We facilitated a variety of dissemination and outreach initiatives, developed by the network’s two postdoctoral fellows.
EUROTAST was an inherently collaborative network that engaged with a variety of international organisations and stakeholders. The following diagram provides an overview of how we were structured: