Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Archival documents from the collection of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute held at Blinken OSA contributed to documented evidence published within the new interactive public history project on 1991 August Coup in Leningrad and Moscow. The online portal Leningrad. August. Freedom was launched for the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, we are organizing a workshop titled Methodologies of Working in Cold War Archives. Facts, Values and Archival Ecologies. The workshop will be in a hybrid format, both on-site and online. The workshop will be organized at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives in Budapest, on October 14–16, 2021.
New call – VISEGRAD SCHOLARSHIP AT OSA! Research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA in 2021/22 Possibilities of knowing: Truth-seeking in a polarized world and [in] its aftermath We are happy to announce the call for the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA in 2021/22! Submission deadline: November 15, 2021 Who can apply? We invite applicants from the fields of history, the arts, philosophy, and sociology, to reflect on the conditions of knowledge production during and after the Cold War. Scholars, artists, journalists, and filmmakers are invited to analyze the documentary practices of different agencies and persons on both sides of the Iron Curtain and assess the truth value of related documents/artifacts. The call wishes to promote exchanges among people with backgrounds in arts, humanities, and social sciences.
This year, Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will open on November 9, 2021, in Trafó Budapest, screening the HBO documentary Divas, directed by Máté Kőrösi, which will also be the film’s Hungarian premiere. The festival will be on during November 9–21 with on-site and online programs and screenings in Budapest and in five other Hungarian cities. The organizers of the 18th Verzió Film Festival have selected nearly 60 news films, representing the most sought-after international and Hungarian human rights documentaries, of which the majority will have their Hungarian premiere at the festival.
The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) at Central European University organizes a seminar on fearless speech. This seminar is part of a longer event series on fearless speech co-organized by Blinken OSA and the students and lecturers of Freeszfe. The seminar will start at the beginning of October and is open to all Hungarian university and college students, including Freeszfe. Location: Blinken OSA, Arany János u. 32., 1051 Budapest, Hungary Maximum number of participants: 15 Application requirement: university student status Application deadline: October 6, 2021 The seminar is led by István Rév and András Mink. Details and application (in Hungarian)
Shakespearevsky – Open Discussion on the Cold War Theater Collection October 1, 2021, 5:00 p.m. Blinken OSA 1051 Budapest, Arany János u. 32. The discussion will be in Hungarian. Invited guests: Jákfalvi Magdolna theater historian Szőnyei Tamás music researcher, journalist Leposa Balázs archivist The number of participants is limited, please RSVP! Social distancing, wearing of masks and vaccination cards are mandatory. The talk will be streamed on Facebook.
On September 24, 2021, Blinken OSA hosted the Swedish Academy member, prominent writer and former investigative journalist Ingrid Carlberg, who was staying in Budapest at the invitation of the Swedish Embassy. Guests also included Katarina Szécsi Åsbrink (Counsellor, Deputy Head of Mission), Andreas Attorps (Economic Policy and Trade Officer), and László Upor (former Rector-Elect of SZFE, currently the member of the Freeszfe Association).
After a pandemic-ridden last year, faculty members and archivists at Blinken OSA have begun the new academic year with fresh ambitions, offering a new palette of academic courses to CEU students. At the beginning of each academic year, the university organizes Orientation Sessions for students. This year, it was held online due to COVID restrictions, but still gave us a chance to showcase a glimpse of our activities and inform the students about the on-site and distance research possibilities at the Archives. The Orientation Sessions were followed by individual course presentations by lecturers from Blinken OSA, who offer the following courses: History in the Visual Mode: Methods and Practices of Documentary Storytelling The Power of Archival Thinking: Documents that Change / Challenged the World
Research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA in 2021/22 Possibilities of Knowing: Truth Seeking in a Polarized World and [in] its Aftermath Another half-year has passed, and now we are happy to announce a new round of Visegrad Scholarship candidates who will soon begin their research at Blinken OSA. The evaluation of the last submitted Visegrad Scholarship applications has finished and the final list of winners with full support and partial support has been approved by the Council of Ambassadors. This scholarship call invited applicants from the fields of history, the arts, philosophy, and sociology. They are expected to reflect on the conditions of knowledge production during and after the Cold War, and expose the intellectual and professional practices (journalistic, sociological, artistic, political, archival) that both reflected and shaped the meaning and scope of the Cold War phenomenon. Visegrad Scholarship @ OSA – July 2021
Since Central European University was forced to relocate to Vienna (Austria), Blinken OSA Archives—one of the biggest units of the university remaining in Budapest—is mapping out new and innovative channels of communications and professional relations that would strengthen its ties to the mother institution. Supporting professional training and internships is just one of many attempts to adapt to this new situation. Just before the start of the 2021 fall term, Katharina Heinz, Executive Assistant to the Director of CEU Library, based in Vienna, visited Blinken OSA for a two-week stay to learn about archival best practices and the organization’s professional activities.
This weekend the festival of the Budapest buildings continues with houses built or redesigned in 1921–1930 and 1945–1957. Budapest100 is a spring weekend festival celebrating the buildings and people around us. The event was launched in 2011 by Blinken OSA and the KÉK Contemporary Architecture Centre to celebrate the 100-year-old houses of the city. This year, due to the pandemic, the festival has been postponed to September. For detailed information: http://budapest100.hu/en/
This year the CEU Summer University course was co-organized by Blinken OSA and The Open Society University Network (OSUN), titled Confronting the Crisis of Expertise. Historical Roots and Current Challenges. Since 1996 the Archives have actively taken part in CEU’s Summer University program: “a special study and professional development opportunity for academics and practitioners from all over the world”. The first Summer University course organized in 1996 was titled History of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, 1945 was followed by ten more successful courses with the professional and organizational input by OSA.
Sergey Kovalev began his career as a biophysicist and was a top leading scientist, before he became one of the most famous human rights defenders in the former USSR. In the late 1960s, he was fired from his position for setting up the Action Group for the Defense of Human Rights in the USSR in 1969. He regularly published in the samizdat publication titled Chronicle of Current Events, writing about labor camps or the arrests and psychiatric confinements of the opponents of the regime. In 1974, he was accused of spreading “anti-Soviet propaganda,” was arrested and sentenced to seven years in the Gulag, followed by three years of internal exile in the far-east and Kolyma. The reforms by Mikhael Gorbachev allowed him to return to Moscow in 1987. During perestroika, he resumed his activism, and participated in the founding of several key humanitarian organizations and initiatives, among them Memorial, a human rights society dedicated to the memory and rehabilitation of victims of political repression in the USSR.
It is a rare occasion for the Archives to receive the library and personal papers not only of one famous figure, such as historian György Litván, but the entire family heirloom of documents and books accumulated over generations. These documents give an insight into the ups and downs of a bourgeois family in the past century.
This summer, Blinken OSA launched a major mass-digitization project with the aim to make paper/text-based materials available online. This digitization project is an important step in the Archives’s ongoing digitization strategy, producing publicly available online collections for the subpages of the Blinken OSA website Digital Repository and Curated Collections. In the first phase of this digitization project, over 300,000 pages of new documents documents from 10 archival series will be uploaded to the Research Cloud. The Research Cloud is a tool to help access materials online, as well as an online repository for copies produced in the frame of our digitization-on-demand service. The materials available in the Research Cloud are accessible for CEU faculty and students, but researchers and interested parties can be granted access to selected collections on an individual basis.
The Summer University Course organized by the Open Society University Network and Blinken OSA Titled Confronting the Crisis of Expertise: Historical Roots and Current Challenges, the SUN course is taking place online between July 26 and 30, 2021. Offered to advanced-level undergraduate students, graduate students, junior faculty in humanities and social sciences, journalists, and artists, the research-intensive course is held online. The course comprises lectures, seminars, and practical workshops with archival documents and scientific datasets. Co-funded by the Open Society University Network (OSUN), in cooperation with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives.
In an era when printed encyclopedias are no longer the epitome of contemporary knowledge sources, a new online encyclopedic system was created.Nowadays the most well-known online encyclopedia, launched in 2001, is Wikipedia. It is a unique and complex online encyclopedia that is written and maintained by volunteer contributors, furthermore, it is multilingual, free, and easily accessible. For an institution like Blinken OSA, to be present on Wikipedia is a must and to ensure this professional presence and to train possible future Wikipedia editors, Ádám Harangozó, a Wikimedian in residence was invited.
The Blinken OSA Research Room is open, welcoming researchers throughout the summer. Please do not forget reserving a time slot prior to your visit, bringing your Hungarian or EU Covid Certificate, and wearing a mask during your stay. For remote research, use our Digitization on Demand service.
Visegrad Call – 2021 Spring NEW CALL - VISEGRAD SCHOLARSHIP! Research theme within the Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken OSA in 2021/22 Possibilities of knowing: Truth seeking in a polarized world and [in] its aftermath We are happy to announce the next call for the Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken OSA in 2021/22! Submission deadline: July 25, 2021 For detailed information of the call, recommended research questions and topics, please check the official Blinken OSA Visegrad Scholarship webpage.
With the Research Room now open, winners of the 2019 and the 2020 calls for Visegrad Scholarship at OSA could begin their work. Meanwhile, deadline for the current call is within days!
On the initiative of the creator, collector, and donor of records pertaining to the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University (Blinken OSA) digitized over 8,000 pages of documents from David Rohde’s research collection, which will be donated to the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
A Weapon to Fight Denialism: the Archives Collecting Evidence on the Srebrenica Genocide The Srebrenica Memorial Center Archive was opened today, in order to provide local access to evidentiary documents on the genocide. Blinken OSA, operating in Budapest, supported the creation of the new archives in Bosnia–Herzegovina with pro bono consultancy work and archival donations.
On the occasion of the 26th Budapest Pride Verzió brings you the latest documentary of Mari Takács. (no English subtitles are available, the film is available on-site and online as well) IN PERSON at Blinken OSA Archives Date: July 7, 2021 Time: at 6:00 p.m. Venue: Budapest 1051, Arany János u. 32. The screening is followed by a discussion with the director and the two Hungarian protagonists, Csaba Hegedüs and Benjamin Forest Török as well as Dr. Miklós Fischer sport psychologist. Moderator: Flóra Dóra Csatári, journalist, telex.hu Please note that the number of seats is limited. Entry is free of charge but your Hungarian immunity card and an ID card/passport must be presented before entry. Pre-registration is required at this link: https://forms.gle/LVHDtm3TDewj1Uym8
Based on our recent experiences, we considered it necessary to endorse the Guiding Principles for Safe Havens for Archives at Risk, and to make it available to Hungarian professionals also in Hungarian.
Blinken OSA is happy to announce that the 2020 Annual Report has been released in digital format. The Annual Report gives an in-depth view of the diverse activities of the Archives. Year 2020 was marked by a tragic worldwide pandemic that fundamentally changed the way the Archives could operate. Contrary to the many challenges, significant archival processing work was done, the teaching activities of our colleagues continued online, exhibitions were opened both on-site and online, new acquisitions arrived, films were screened, new curated collections became available, school programs were reorganized online, and colleagues pursued their academic activities in the form of online conferences, workshops, and publications.
On the Night of the Museums, the Blinken OSA, together with Partizán, will address the night of the museums: the current conditions of public collections in Hungary. Can we talk about endangered public collections in Hungary? On June 26, in a temporary studio set up in the Blinken OSA, the YouTube Channel Partizán will welcome public collection workers and experts to talk about the current condition of museums, archives, and libraries in Hungary. During the past decade, the Blinken OSA has become a safe haven for endangered collections. Visitors to the Archives can attend house tours focusing on the endangered collections preserved here. 8.00–12.00 p.m. The night of the museums. Partizán live from the Blinken OSA. Details soon! 4.00–12.00 p.m. House tours every two hours.
Colleagues participate in a week-long training program as volunteer instructors for the Potočari Memorial Center. June 9 is International Archives Day adopted by the International Council on Archives (ICA ) at the International Congress in Vienna in 2004. ICA strongly believes that “Archives and archivists play an important role in accountability, transparency, democracy, heritage, memory, and society.” This is the day to celebrate archives and the Blinken OSA joins in the celebration by offering support to the Potočari Memorial Center in the form of professional training. Csaba Szilágyi, acting Chief Archivist of the Blinken OSA Archives has written a powerful blog post, titled Discussion About the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide Begins in the Archives. In the closing paragraph of the article he writes “Since December 2019, on behalf Blinken OSA, I serve as a pro bono archives consultant for the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery, assisting in designing and establishing a proper and long-needed archive and research center on the study of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. Digital copies of some of the records listed above will be transferred to the PMC Archives.” This ongoing consultancy work is now complemented by a week-long archival training program designed and carried out by the professional staff of the Blinken OSA, who will act as volunteer instructors during the online training. The training covers a wide range of topics that serve as the base for professional archival operation in a digital—and very much changed archival climate.
The Blinken OSA has recently formed a teaching cooperation with the Media Design program at the Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME), widening the spectrum of earlier teaching courses. In the second year of the new partnership, MA students took part in a special fall course of the 2020/21 academic year. We are happy to announce that the MOME students have put together an online exhibition based on the projects they had produced during the course. Initially, the students of the fall semester could personally take part in the archival creative process, study original documents onsite, and were inspired in an authentic archival environment. You can find the exhibition: https://hiddenlayers.osaarchivum.org/
The Budapest Week was the first independent English-language weekly in Hungary, founded in March, 1991, by Rick Bruner, Steve Carlson, Richard W. Bruner, Tibor Szendrei, and Blake Steinberg. Peter Freed financed the paper from 1992, and remained its owner until the Budapest Week ceased printing around 2000. Thirty years have passed, and the founders of the Budapest Week contacted the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives to launch a common project, and to help to digitize, process, and host the first four years of the Budapest Week, with the aim of preserving and celebrating the legacy of this newspaper. Further steps were taken to gain permission for its online publication from the legal copyright holder Peter Freed, who was willing to help. The Blinken OSA and two of the founders, Steven Carlson and Tibor Szendrei, partnered up to look for documents, testimonies, interviews relating to the early years of the paper, as well as the photo documentation of those years. We are happy to announce that forty-three paper boxes of photos have been deposited at the Archives by Peter Freed. Thematically arranged, the photo archives of the Budapest Week also represents the turbulent but promising years after the regime change in Hungary, thus serving as a rich documentation for the researchers of the time.
A variety of Blinken OSA exhibitions are available online. including the recently opened Order and Dreams. More than a year has passed since the pandemic broke out, seriously altering the course of our lives and professional operations. The impact of this new era has left lasting effects, as our institution adapted to the new challenges. One prime example is the public program series of Blinken OSA, finding ways to attract new exhibition audiences online—with the closure of the Galeria Centralis—, which did seem a real challenge at first. While many of the Hungarian museums and galleries are opening, the Galeria Centralis remains closed till further notice.