Started in March 2019, our Cost Action “Who Cares in Europe?” ended in September 2023. In four years and half, it succeeded in bringing together more than 100 researchers from more than 30 countries. Besides collaborating with members of the same working group, researchers could experiment further collaborations by carrying out research projects transversal to the four groups. Members of the Action had the opportunity not only to consolidate existing collaborations and friendships but also to establish new ones. They could fine-tune their research questions thanks to the frequent seminars and workshops organised with COST support, informal and friendly dialogues, and generous and stimulating exchanges with their colleagues. We thus decided to ask “Who Cares in Europe?” members how their involvement in the activities of the Action has transformed and redefined their own work, and created new opportunties for collaborations. Below we are delighted to share some contributions and personal stories from the researchers who took part into our Action to leave a further trace of the invaluable collaborative research carried out thanks to COST support.

Adriana Zaharijević, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
“I came to the Prague meeting in 2019 as a substitute for my colleague from Belgrade who discovered this precious Action. By a stroke of luck, Laura Lee Downs suggested I become much more than that, a co-coordinator of the WG on Families and Welfare, which provided me with an opportunity to work with some truly fabulous scholars from around Europe, and create some friendships which grew beyond the Action itself. Anca Dohotariu and Joanna Wawrzyniak showed that joint work is what women do best – it’s caring, adroit, resourceful, in-common. Who cares in Europe? gave us an opportunity to create a small, but powerful network of Eastern European feminist scholars who together wanted to imagine a plural and open space for families, taking back care for the families from those who try to define it for all of us, as if we are all the same.”
Karolina Lendák-Kabók, University of Novi Sad, Serbia & Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary | Hanna Lindberg, University of Tampere, Finland | John Paul Newman, Maynooth University, Ireland

A short video on Karolina, Hanna and John Paul’s collaboration on several projects within our Cost Action.

Jelena Seferović, Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia/ Institute of Contemporary History, Ljubljana, Slovenia

“I am really grateful for the opportunity to be a member of one of the working groups of the COST Action “Who cares in Europe?”. Establishing contacts with colleagues from various European countries, who share similar scientific interests, has been important for the development of my scientific work. This is especially noteworthy because prior to joining this COST Action, it was often challenging for me to collaborate with individuals who focused on such specific aspects of social history. Moreover, this experience has provided me with knowledge on how scientific work is organized. I would like to express my appreciation to the leaders of the transversal project I was a part of, Dr. Stefano Petrungaro and Dr. Michele Mioni. Their understanding of my professional and personal obligations motivated me to complete my assigned tasks mostly within the agreed deadlines. Without their structured approach to leading the project and their empathy towards the circumstances in my life, I might have considered discontinuing the collaboration.

On the other hand, I would like to express gratitude to the Clinic for Psychiatry Vrapče, the State Archives in Sisak, and the Museum of the City of Pakrac for their invaluable assistance in providing access to the necessary archival materials. These resources were crucial for the preparation of my research on voluntary aid to people with mental disorders in Croatia during the 1930s. In particular, I would like to draw attention to a collection of photos preserved in the library of the Vrapče Psychiatry Clinic. The photos depict psychiatric patients who participated in a play titled “Returning to Life”/ “Vraćanje u život”. This production took place in 1936 at the Royal State Institute for the Mentally Ill in Stenjevec, which is now known as the Clinic for Psychiatry Vrapče. It’s worth noting that the play was authored by two psychiatrists, Dr. Stanislav Župić and Dr. Zvonimir Sušić.

In the meantime, I have joined other two COST Actions — CA21120 – History of Identity Documentation of European Nations, Chitizenship, Nationality and Migration (HIDDEN) and CA22159 National, International and Transnational Histories of Healthcare (1850-2000) (EuroHealthHist). I participated in EuroHealthHist as a secondary proposer. I want to highlight it as it demonstrates how positive my first cooperation within the COST Action “Who Cares on Europe?” was.