Press Room - 2021

Photo from the project by Dezső Gyarmati
Posted: 03/June/2021
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” photo archives
Posted: 28/May/2021
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.
 
Damir Očko: DICTA I, 2017 courtesy of the artist
Posted: 10/May/2021
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.
 
Mihály Csákó, photo by István Jávor
Posted: 29/April/2021
The John Wesley Theological College and the Eötvös Lóránd University Faculty of Social Sciences co-organized a memorial conference of Mihály Csákó sociologist, educational researcher, a democratic opposition member from January 31 to February 1, 2020. Two colleagues of the Blinken OSA, Iván Székely and Miklós Zsámboki gave lectures at the conference. The lectures given at the Mihály Csákó Memorial Conference by Blinken OSA colleagues are now available on the Blinken OSA YouTube channel. Iván Székey argued in his presentation that contrary to the Post-Modern forecasts and the visions of internet service providers, archival institutions won’t be unnecessary in the future, and he also added that the rich legacy of Mihály Csákó will soon be processed and available at the Blinken OSA. Miklós Zsámboki presented an educational project during his lecture, where high school students had discussions with their parents about their memories of 1989, and he proved that the official state narrative and private memory remain vastly different.
 
Photo: Stanzin Namgail.
Posted: 27/April/2021
In 2019, the Department of Medieval Studies at Central European University, which runs the Cultural Heritage Studies Program, and Blinken OSA signed a Letter of Intent proposing that research work conducted by the students and faculty of the Cultural Heritage Studies Program should be preserved and made available to researchers at Blinken OSA. Our new archival fonds HU OSA 437 Digital Archive of Cultural Heritage is the result of this cooperation.
 
Off-Biennále 2021
Posted: 23/April/2021
The third edition of OFF-Biennale Budapest opens today both online and offline! Five weeks of contemporary art around the most burning topics of our times. The online exhibition titled ORDER AND DREAMS - The context of the poem “A Breath of Air!” by Blinken OSA and the  OFF- Biennále Budapest also opens tonight. Link to the exhibition: https://orderanddreams.osaarchivum.org/en The opening: April 23, 2021, 8:00 p.m. on Facebook Tonight the organizers of OFF-Biennále Budapest are presenting an online opening event in Hungarian, but you will be able to follow the program of OFF in English as well with many international events in the upcoming weeks! Stay tuned! The link to the live Facebook event.
 
rfe image
Posted: 22/April/2021


Date: October 14-16, 2021
Place: Blinken Open Society Archives, Central European University (Budapest), Hungary

The workshop aims to contribute to the discussion on knowledge practices in times of reflexive disbelief by addressing the role of scholars with regards to different truth regimes. Michel Foucault once remarked that the analysis of “truth” should go beyond the evaluation of isolated statements: truth regimes are power systems which produce and sustain certain truths in a circular way, through political and economic institutions. William Davies of “The Guardian” traced back the current popular skepticism vis-à-vis professional expertise to a paradigm shift in truth regimes: the immediacy of self-revelatory data has been replacing, through a multitude of revelations, leaks and informational wars dating as far back as the Cold War, the interpretative work by experts and journalists. It is worth re-assessing, from this point of view, how historical knowledge about the past can be used to address and carefully interpret facts and events reported or produced by those very informational wars before 1989, when the East and West were systemically opposed. In an era when individuals and academic communities are increasingly divided over matters of common concern, we consider it the duty of both historians and archivists to engage in a more reflexive manner with the problematic nature of records of the past.

 
Photo: Dániel Végel
Posted: 21/April/2021
CEU’s statement on the Hungarian Government’s proposed amendment of the Act on National Higher Education. The Full Statement Vienna, April 20, 2021 -- A new bill has been submitted to the Hungarian parliament amending the National Higher Education Act. This follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) last October that ‘lex CEU’ violated European law.     The government’s proposed new law changes nothing for CEU. We believe the government has no intention of creating the conditions in which international institutions like CEU can operate freely in Hungary. Under the new draft legislation, it remains a political decision—certain to be taken at the highest level—whether to allow foreign universities to operate. The government has already made it perfectly clear how it proposes to use its powers. It threw out an institution that abides by international standards of academic freedom and has invited instead a university which obeys the ultimate authority of the Chinese Communist Party.      These are the choices the government has already made. CEU will remain in Austria, a country where basic standards of academic freedom are respected. We will maintain a non-teaching, research presence in Budapest and will never abandon the city, but we will not subject ourselves again to the political whims of one man and his regime.
 
From the video shot on his 80th Birthday
Posted: 16/April/2021
We are sad to share the information about the recent passing of a great colleague and archivist Charles Kecskeméti. One of the first Western professionals whose work contributed greatly to the professional establishment of our Archives, as well as its recognition on international levels, by acting as a professional at the same time informal advisor to the Archives.
 
From the Fonds HU OSA 363
Posted: 15/April/2021
The American Refugee Committee (ARC) was among the first foreign NGOs to respond to the refugee crisis in former Yugoslavia. As soon as Bosnian and Croatian refugees started arriving on the Dalmatian coast, ARC dispatched public and mental health specialists to ease their situation and alleviate their pain. Fonds HU OSA 363 documents ARC’s work in former Yugoslavia (except Slovenia), and Albania, between 1992 and 2007. It consists of textual, visual, and audio-visual materials. Textual documents are, for the most part, grant and project files showcasing ARC’s dedicated reconciliation and reconstruction work, which was, at times, truly innovative. Numerous maps indicating ARC operations and refugee movements in the region add to our understanding of the complexity of the situation ARC intervened in. Photographs, slides, and videos show the destructions of war, but also local and expatriate ARC staff as they deliver their humanitarian service to the refugees of the region.
 
OFF-Biennale Budapest
Posted: 14/April/2021

The context of the poem “A Breath of Air!”

The third edition of OFF-Biennale Budapest, INHALE!, takes the seminal political poem “A Breath of Air!” by 20th-century Hungarian poet Attila József as its starting point. The poem was written in November 1935. Apparently, it was a time of peace and plenty: Europe—and Hungary—had overcome the crisis of the Great Depression; the order was restored. But what kind of order was it that the poet “didn’t dream of”? The research and exhibition project presents the political and social context of the poem through archival materials, while contemporary artworks offer its possible 21st-century reading.

The exhibition was organized by the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives and the OFF-Biennale Budapest.
 
artists: Daniel BAKER, Vesna BUKOVEC, Krisztián KRISTÓF, Damir OČKO, Tamás PÁLL, Kata SZIVÓS–Dominika TRAPP–Noémi VARGA

curator:  Katalin SZÉKELY
research: researchers of Blinken OSA
exhibition design: Virág BOGYÓ
 
venue: ONLINE
date: April 23 – May 30, 2021
 
partners: Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

https://offbiennale.hu/en/2021

 

 
Atiz Book digitization, source Flicker
Posted: 09/April/2021
Digitization is an essential method in supporting remote research possibilities in a vastly changed era. Libraries and archives are resuming their services in some parts of the world, but Europe is still hard hit with the pandemic. This reason and the very fact that our mother institution, the Central European University (CEU), has moved to Vienna inspired colleagues to come up with a solution that would help to diminish the distance between researchers and our collections. The idea put to the test is a new service introduced a few weeks ago called Digitization on Demand. It is designed to help researchers to use the unique resources the Blinken OSA could only offer onsite now online as well. More detailed information about how the service operates: https://www.osaarchivum.org/research-room/digitization-on-demand
 
Blinken OSA Sun Course
Posted: 25/March/2021
New 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 will take 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 planned to be organized on-site in Budapest; if the pandemic is still posing health risks, the course will be held online. The course will comprise 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. Course Director(s): Ioana Macrea-Toma
 
Classifieds from the Hungarian “Mások” magazine, 1991–1995
Posted: 24/March/2021
For the joint exhibition of the Blinken OSA Archives and the Háttér Archive and Library, we researched documents that inform us how the societies in the former Eastern Bloc, SFR Yugoslavia, and Albania, shaped and constrained the lives of LGBTQI+ communities, and also how the latter were raising their voices in the public sphere. To include as many different voices from the LGBTQI+ movement as possible, we welcome contributions! You may lend or donate textual and audiovisual documents and (photos of) personal effects connected to the history of LGBT+ persons in Central and Southeastern Europe in the period 1945–1999. For more: https://bit.ly/2P5aUri 
 
Records Uncovered exhibition
Posted: 22/March/2021
The online exhibition, a joint project of Blinken OSA and the Háttér Archive opened on February 26, 2021. Records Uncovered is an online exhibition by the Blinken OSA and the Háttér Archive, which presents the divergences and commonalities among gay and lesbian movements in Central and Southeastern Europe in the second half of the last century. Through legal documentation, media reports, private and institutional correspondence, artworks and ephemera, this exhibition evinces the understanding and treatment of homosexuals, in countries that commonly shared two different political goals at two different periods: the establishment of a new Communist society between the mid-1940s and the early 1990s, and the transition toward a democratic society in the following years.
 
From the conference
Posted: 18/March/2021
The recorded sessions of the online conference are available on YouTube! “Labor Research from Planned Economy to Savage Capitalism” was the title of a workshop conference organized by the Research Documentation Centre / Voices of the 20th Century Archive and Research Group together with the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives in December 2020. The event was held online, the recordings are now available on the Blinken OSA YouTube channel.
 
Photo: Dániel Végel
Posted: 10/March/2021
The Blinken OSA has recently added new series to the subfond Western Press Archives, including biographical series and subject files. The Blinken OSA has recently published a catalog of several series of Radio Free Europe’s Western Press Archives. The subfond contains newspaper clippings from Western press sources, news agency releases, but also brochures on thousands of personalities worldwide and on subjects relating to the East European target countries, including various topics from Agriculture to Prisons and Youth.
 
Project logo
Posted: 04/March/2021
From study trip to escape room: a digital education program. In 2019, the Blinken OSA (CEU) received a grant for its project titled 89: Bringing it Home from the U.S. Embassy in Hungary, supporting the design and organization of two-day study trips for five groups of 15–19 year-old students to the Archives. The program aimed to create a unique learning experience focusing on the regime change in Hungary. On the first day, students would participate in a simulation game that recreated the dynamics of the Kádár regime, using primary sources; they would then have a walking tour that familiarized them with some of the most important events of 1988 and 1989. On the second day, students would form a “Creative Block” to express—through a diversity of workshops—their views on what they considered the most important takeaways of the trip. Due to the outbreak of the COVIC-19 pandemic, only one of the five planned trips could be realized. Therefore, in October 2020, the Blinken OSA began redesigning the project to offer a similar learning experience, but this time online, making the program available for many more students even during the pandemic. The plan was to roll out a set of learning aids that would help teachers in exploring the era with their students in an interactive and immersive fashion.
 
76 Days, Re:Verzió 2021
Posted: 16/February/2021
Audience favorites from the most recent Verzió available for limited-time streaming. Every spring, some of the best films from the Verzió Festival are rescreened at the Blinken OSA. This year, due to the pandemic, the films are made available online on the Verzió website. Audience favorites from the 17th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will be available from February 15 through April 30, in the frame of Re:Verzió. The fifteen films cannot be found elsewhere in Hungary, and for most, it may be their last chance to be viewed. Tickets for these films are free of charge, or can be purchased for a symbolic price. All ticket sale proceeds will be used to purchase the rights for I Am Greta, for educational purposes and film club screenings. These films are only available for streaming within Hungary. Hungarian subtitles will be provided for all non-Hungarian-speaking films. A limited number of tickets are available for each film. When fewer than 100 tickets are left for a given film, viewers will be notified via the Verzió's Facebook page. More information can be found at https://www.verzio.org/  
 
Logo of the PLURAL Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies
Posted: 12/February/2021
The prize is assigned by The PLURAL Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies, a nonprofit organization based in the Republic of Moldova. Anastasia Felcher, the Slavic Archives Specialist at the Blinken OSA, has been awarded the PLURAL Local Archives & Collections Research Prize. The prize is assigned by The PLURAL Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies, a nonprofit organization based in the Republic of Moldova, which aims at initiating and carrying out analyses and discussions of phenomena and social issues neglected or distorted in the public space, such as inequality, oppression, identities, cultures, power, and ideologies.
 
On the passing of A. Ross Johnson, former Director of RFE/RL
Posted: 09/February/2021
It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of A. Ross Johnson. A scholar who specialized in East European and Soviet security issues, Johnson fulfilled senior positions at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL, Inc.) over several decades: he was senior executive from 1988 to 2002, director of the RFE/RL Research Institute, acting president and counselor of RFE/RL, and recently History and Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, and Senior Adviser at RFE/RL.
 
Opposition Roundtable Negotiations, image from the Black Box recordings
Posted: 04/February/2021
A new fully digitized, fully processed collection was made available for researchers for the first time in Hungary. Archival work never stops at Blinken OSA even amid a global pandemic. The AV Section of the Archives is happy to announce that a historically important visual collection is now fully digitized, fully processed, and available for the researchers and the wider public for the first time in Hungary. The Collection is titled the „ Recordings of the Opposition Roundtable Negotiations” which was a widely-known phase during the Transition period of 1989. The events were documented by the Black Box Foundation, the first independent media group in Hungary (since 1988). Contrary to the state-controlled media, Black Box was a fresh and independent voice in Hungary during the Transition, they extensively documented and even participated in the events of the peaceful Transition. The five-part documentary films about the negotiations can be found at HU OSA 305-0-2 The Collection is in Hungarian.
 
Forrás.
Posted: 26/January/2021
The Blinken OSA launched a blog series at 444.hu, one of the leading independent news websites in Hungary. The blog entitled Forrás. [meaning source and, with the dot pronounced, boiling point] consists of posts written by the Blinken OSA staff, revolved around archival sources and their archival, historical, and contemporary context. As 444.hu is in Hungarian, English translations will be published here, at the Blinken OSA website.
 
Fortepan / Tibor Somlai
Posted: 25/January/2021
The Archives contributes to the program in the form of an internship and a course titled Memory in Public Spaces (Including Archives) About the History in the Public Sphere (HIPS) program: HIPS is a 120 ECTS English-language program awarding a Multiple Degree. The program description says, “History in the Public Sphere is a two-year master program that focuses on the ways the past is represented, contested, and negotiated in the public sphere, exploring various contexts from the early modern period to the present in a comparative and transnational way.”
 
Blinken OSA  Stock Photo by Dániel Végel
Posted: 20/January/2021
Blinken OSA offers the three-credit course Archives, Evidence, and Human Rights to CEU students. Teaching has always been an essential part of the activities at Blinken OSA, and for many years, a variety of courses were launched to CEU students. We are happy to announce that despite the challenges and the CEU’s move to Vienna, the Archives continues its popular course Archives, Evidence, and Human Rights, offered to the Human Rights Program of the Legal Studies Department, cross-listed to the History Department. About the course: This course aims at looking at the roles and uses of human rights documentation in the context of preserving recorded memory and the history of human rights. Establishing facts by forensic methods, producing impeccable evidence to convict perpetrators, or understanding the roots of conflicts and working toward dialog and reconciliation are just a few areas where the availability of reliable records and archival activism can make a huge difference. Course description and Syllabus
 
Fortepan / Tibor Inkey
Posted: 15/January/2021
Cultures of Dissent in Eastern Europe (1945–1989): Research Approaches in the Digital Humanities – Online Co-funded by the Open Society University Network (OSUN) and the New Exploratory Phase in Research on East European Cultures of Dissent (CA 16213), a COST Action funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union (nep4dissent.eu). Hosted by the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives, Budapest, Hungary About the Course: The course is co-hosted by the Blinken Open Society Archives, CEU’s progressive hub for digital Cold War history and a natural home for scholarship conducted in this area. A previous course in 2019 already based its demo datasets on digitized content from the Blinken OSA collections: records of the Radio Free Europe Research Institute, and of RFE’s telex communication between New York and Munich in the 1960s. There are a lot of training schools in digital humanities methods around the world, but very few which are so focused on a particular subject area and dedicated to building collaborative digital history projects around a discrete set of topics. By basing the course and its follow-up activities at Blinken OSA, this program aims to seed a new wave of digital history projects that revolve around Cold War history and oppositional cultures.
 
Photó: Katalin Dobó
Posted: 12/January/2021
Archives to the Rescue: Left-Wing Journals of Interwar Western Europe Arrive at the Archives We are always delighted to share the news if our collection has been enriched with a special, new donation. Now, however, we have to report with a bitter taste that we had to transfer a part of the press collection of the Institute of Political History—recently cast out from its home—to the Archives, in order to avoid forced scrapping.    
 
Visegrad Scholarship Results at Blinken OSA
Posted: 08/January/2021
We are happy to announce that the evaluation of the last submitted Visegrad applications has finished and the final list of winners and reserves has been approved by the Council of Ambassadors. For detailed information on the call, please check the official Blinken OSA Visegrad Scholarship website The following candidates received full support: •    John/Jack Atmore (US) for his project Creating an Online Interactive Archival Documentary Platform with the Privát Fotó és Film Alapítvány Home Movie Collection •    Jelena Culibrk (Serbia) for her research Televising the Invisible Hand: The BBC and Postwar (Neo)Liberalism, 1968–1980. •    Svetlana Dimitrova (Bulgaria/France) for her research “Promoting Free Exchange Behind Closed Doors.” The Foundation for the Support of European Intellectuals in its Socio-Historical Context •    Samuel Finkelman (US) for his research How Soviet Jewish Intellectuals and Activists Mobilized the Past to Stimulate the Resurgence of Jewish National Consciousness •    Jira Janac (Czech Republic) for his research on Hydrosocialism •    Andrea Soós (Hungary) for her research on the oeuvre of László Rajk and his contribution to the social and political transformation of Hungary in the 1980s. •     Trinkle, Alice (Germany) for her research on “Understanding socialist economic reform as a global phenomenon.” Assessing exchanges between Europe and China and their influence on Chinese economic reform in the 1980s The following candidates received partial support: •    Bewicz, Piotr (Poland) for his research Letters From The Inside. The Phenomenon of Experiencing Archive – The Open Society Archives Example •    Lilla Farkas (Hungary)  for her research The Emergence of the Roma Rights Movement in the Last Years of Communism and its Immediate Aftermath
 
Blood/Witness Szabolcs KissPál Documentary Radio Play
Posted: 04/January/2021

Blood/Witness
Szabolcs KissPál Documentary Radio Play

Radio Tilos FM 90,3 MHz
January 10, Sunday, 2021, 12.30–1.30 p.m.

The events that took place hundred years ago are still leading to sharp, heated debates: which events do we consider national tragedies from the turn of the 1910s and 1920s? Whom do we consider victims to be emphasized as mementos for the collective memory? Whose blood was spilling from, so to say, the wounds of the nation? The documentary radio play by Szabolcs KissPál explores this issue through, on the one hand, the microhistories of the everyman of the era—the Jewish victims of the Red and White Terror—, and, on the other, through the great national narrative—the history of the Monument of National Martyrs, inaugurated in 1934, toppled in 1945, and reconstructed in 2019.