Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives
Since the Archives took up the responsible task of reflecting on the current distortions in history teaching in Hungary with a very successful free accredited teachers’ training course, five years have passed. Soon after the expiry of the accreditation, there are plans to launch a new course in a different structure and with different content.
It is with great sadness that we learnt about Eva S. Balogh’s passing a few days ago. The announcement was made on Hungarian Spectrum, the blog Ms. Balogh dedicated to “reflections on politics, economics, and culture” in Hungary from June 2007 up until her sudden death on November 30, 2021. A highly important, erudite, and critical voice among the few daily sources of information about Hungary in English, Hungarian Spectrum had over 7,000 subscribers (as of November 2021), with numerous journalists, politicians, diplomats, and scholars among them.
Blinken OSA at the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies 2021 Annual Convention
The Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) Virtual Convention took place on December 1–3, featuring over 400 sessions. This is the most important annual event of the Association, usually held in the fall in a different North American city each year. The ASEEES annual convention is an international forum of experts allowing the broad exchange of ideas and information, a platform that stimulates further work and synergies of the field. Like in previous years, Blinken OSA colleagues participated in the Convention and presented papers, organized panels, and chaired discussions. The Convention provided a relevant professional platform for them to introduce the Blinken OSA archival holdings and its research potential.
On November 17–19, 2021, a workshop devoted to formerly hidden or inaccessible Jewish archival collections and documents took place at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI). Entitled Precarious Archives, Precarious Voices. Expanding Jewish Narratives from the Margins , the workshop informed on how the archival turn, the opening of archives in Eastern Europe, and the new digital availability of smaller archival collections contributed to reanalyzing old narratives, or examining narratives marginalized until now. The workshop sought to feature voices that have been unheard until now, and discuss new methodological lenses demanded by such recently discovered archival material on Jewish histories.
Call for Applications: CEU Budapest-OSUN Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowships We are happy to announce that a new fellowship will provide an opportunity for doctoral students and junior scholars to spend time at Blinken OSA. The CEU Budapest-OSUN Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship provides an opportunity for up to eight doctoral students and six junior scholars within 7 years of their Ph.D. defense to spend time either at the CEU Democracy Institute (DI) or at the Archives. The future doctoral applicants need to be affiliated with an OSUN Institution when they apply, which is not the requirement with the post-doctoral scholars.
As the board of the Visegrad Fund is assessing the second round of the new applications for the successful 2021–2022 calls for the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, let us highlight the work of the winners of the previous call. The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA was launched to invite researchers, scholars, artists, journalists to do research at Blinken OSA, covering their Budapest stay and travel. The theme of the scholarship varies from year to year, the latest call titled Possibilities of Knowing: Truth Seeking in a Polarized World and [in] Its Aftermath invites 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. Successful applicants spend a period of eight weeks studying related documents, analyzing them, and at the end of their scholarship, they would all be required to give a short lecture with the end results of their research at the Archives.
An archives and museum preserving the memory of the political victims of the Soviet Union and especially of the Gulag, and at the same time a human rights group documenting and protesting human rights violations to this day, Memorial is facing false accusations.
The Verzió International Human Rights Film Festival ended last weekend with physical screenings in Budapest, Pécs, Debrecen, Kecskemét, Szeged, and Szombathely, as well as a countrywide online viewing, all in all attracting around 20,000 viewers. The festival is over, but the work continues; we are happy to share the good news that a new international network was launched and Verzió is among the founding partners. Verzió International Human Rights Film Festival (Budapest, Hungary), Fipadoc International Documentary Film Festival (Biarritz, France), and Biografilm festival (Bologna, Italy) are launching a new network, Places to B – Biarritz, Bologna, Budapest. The three festivals, all with female leadership, share an interest in contemporary European creative documentary films, and are committed to managing their activities transparently and to support each other in producing sustainable and diverse international film festival events.
Dear Researchers and Visitors, By the decision of the Management of the Blinken OSA Archives, our building will be closed till Thursday morning, November 18, 2021. due to Covid-19 related reasons Thank you for your understanding!
Explore Blinken OSA‘s history through selected milestones in archival processing and development, exhibitions and conferences, academic and public education programs on osaisceu.osaarchivum.org!
How can online or offline media or NGOs communicate without fear? How and where can an NGO’s case reach the media dedicated to the freedom of press? Do they aim to express mutually reinforcing topics? During the roundtable discussion, communication experts from NGOs and editors of online platforms will exchange their experiences in conveying a message that will strengthen democracy. Do they apply self-censorship, and if so, why and how? This discussion is both an exchange of experiences and request for assistance wherein representatives of NGOs, journalists, and editors are all welcome to participate.
The 18th VERZIÓ International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, founded by Blinken OSA Archives, has the longest history among documentary film festivals in Hungary, and has been held every November since 2004. This year the film festival showcases 64 films from 35 countries, in cinemas on 9–14 November, and online, 15–21 November. These documentaries bring us closer to current human rights issues, such as humans’ impact on the environment, ways to overcome physical-emotional trauma, young people striving for a better future, and stories from journalists, teenagers and activists who are challenging power and rigid systems.
On October 30, 2021, Blinken OSA welcomed students of CEU’s History Department and the interuniversity program History in the Public Sphere (HIPS) at the Archives. Since CEU’s forced move to Vienna and the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archives has come up with innovative methods to reach future researchers by digitizing its holdings and providing researchers with remote access. Among these researchers is the student body of CEU.
The 18th VERZIÓ International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, founded by Blinken OSA, has its regular spin-off event, the alternative film poster exhibition, organized at the Archives. For the fourth year, the Budapest Metropolitan University’s (METU) graphic design MA students exhibit their works in cooperation with Verzió Film Festival. The group exhibition is part of the festival's UniVerzió initiative, which invites university students to dive into the world of documentary films through both practical and theoretical exercises during the fall semester. Opening: October 29, 6 p.m. Address: Blinken OSA, 1051 Budapest, Arany János u. 32.
On the 10th anniversary of the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, a three-day workshop titled Methodologies of Working in Cold War Archives was organized with the active participation of our archival staff and invited guests: academics, historians, sociologists, researchers, archivists, and digital specialists. It was a professionally charged three days for participants with intense discussions, vibrant presentations, and bright and engaging Q&As. Ioana Macrea-Toma, the organizer of this workshop, reflects on the professional event.
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.