Vera & Donald Blinken Open Society Archives

Annual Report 2015


István Rév

OSA has never had a secure, indisputably accepted name. Just like its character, its real identity, its mission and ambitions and even its name has always been somewhat uncertain - open to different readings and interpretations. The Open Society Archive or the Open Society Archives, the Open Society Archives at (or) @ CEU (or) @ Central European University or as we have affectionately been known to the general public, simply as OSA or The OSA is a different institution/organization/thing for different audiences.

It is an archive, a research institute, a teaching unit of CEU, a public institution, a gallery, and an exhibition and public space that exists in different realms. OSA is a private Hungarian institution open to and serving the public, which legally exists in Hungary only via its parent institution, the Central European University, chartered and accredited in Hungary (besides having been chartered and accredited in the US.) OSA has decided not to seek Hungarian accreditation as an official, privately run, Hungarian public archive due in large part to one of the initiators and original signatories of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, in a sense, the founding document of the world-wide open access movement. In other words, we wanted to guard our independence and flexibility which would have been constrained under Hungarian archival law and regulations.


The Renaming of OSA

In the fall of 2015, OSA was re-baptized as the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives. Donald Blinken, a former ambassador of the United States to Hungary, and his wife, Vera, who escaped from Stalinist Hungary in 1950, have been friends and supporters of the Archives for the last two decades. One of our first curated digital collections, the 1956 Digital Archive came into being thanks to their generous support. Last year, Vera and Donald Blinken pledged a major donation to the Archives that would provide long-term stability for our ambitious future research work and public programs.


Blinken OSA has always had the aspiration to do something – beyond proper archival work – with its collections. We have been collecting historical documents not only in order to classify and catalogue, but also to contextualize them, make them publicly accessible in a proper historical context. We organize public programs, make use of historical opportunities and anniversaries not just for remembering or memorializing relevant historical events, but to find appropriate opportunities for presenting our archival holdings to the public in a sensible and useful way. It is our obligation to make our collections highly visible and use them to intervene in timely, sometime controversial, public debates.

Besides our interest in complex problems of recent history and human rights, the Archives has always dealt with the issues of gathering, analyzing, and protecting information. In 2015, the Archives organized and presented several interrelated programs on different aspects of (clandestine) information gathering, and the violation and protection of privacy and information rights.


Blinken OSA was the venue of the Hungarian premiere of CitizenFour, Laura Poitra's Oscar-winning documentary on Edward Snowden. The screening, in front of a largely professional audience of journalists, lawyers, civil society activists, academics and students, began with a live discussion over Skype with Anthony Romero, (Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Edward Snowden's lawyer in the US) and Gill Phillips (Director of Editorial Legal Services, The Guardian). Continuing our quest for understanding of the threats and issues related to surveillance, the Archives hosted the exhibition Watching You, Watching Me. The exhibition explored how photography can be both an instrument of surveillance and also a tool to expose and challenge its negative impact. The show included pieces designed specifically for the theme, as well as several “firsts,” including the premier of Edu Bayer’s photographs of the late Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi’s security headquarters. Also on display was, as a European premiere, Hasan Elahi’s 4 meter tall by 4.5 meter wide scroll including 32,000 images from his self-surveillance project, as well as new floor-to-ceiling installations created specifically for this exhibition by Mari Bastashevski, on the global communications industry; and the work of Josh Begley on NYPD’s Demographics Unit spying on Muslims.

In connection with the exhibition, the Archives, in collaboration with the Goethe Institut-Budapest, and Secret Police Archives in Germany, Poland and Slovakia, organized the first ever International Secret Police Film Festival, a retrospective film program that included a selection of training, educational and operative films, as well as newsreels produced by Communist secret police services in 1962-1989. The program, based on our extensive holdings of Communist-era secret police films, explored how the secret police imagined and managed their surveillance activities.


Verzio, the annual international human rights documentary film festival of the Archives, put together a special surveillance program in conjunction with OSA’s exhibition. The films dealt with the question of what rights governments and corporations have to collect and retain information on our daily communications. What tools – both today and in the past – have been used to monitor citizens’ activities? What are the immediate and far-reaching effects of living in a culture of surveillance? The hundreds of documentary films, sent to the Archives as candidates of entry at the film festival, are then included in our large and ever-growing documentary film collection, providing the opportunity to use them for research and educational purposes.

As the finissage of the Watching You, Watching Me, the Blinken OSA hosted a symposium on privacy, security and transparency through a Skype conversation with Edward Snowden from Moscow. The Archives invited experts, like Roger Berkowitz, Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, Rosa Brooks, law professor at Georgetown University, Anja Kovacs, Director of the Internet Democracy Project, Malte Spitz, a politician of the German Green Party, and Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the MIT Center for Civic Media. The public debate touched on issues of security, privacy, and transparency; and questioned whether the rise of transparency can diminish privacy for individuals and groups; and in what way does the threat of terrorism throw into stark relief the struggle between the need for security and the right to privacy.


This past year also highlighted the ongoing influx into Europe of millions of people from those parts of the world where life is gravely endangered by horrible armed conflicts, terrorism, climate change, hunger, or lack of water. This refugee crisis meant the end of an era when security and comfortable life for rich Europeans was taken for granted. People once colonized, who seemed to be comfortably far away, appeared unannounced and uninvited not only at the door, but alarmingly inside the borders of the European Union as well. Before 2015, it was easy for European citizens to get morally outraged by man-made disasters in faraway parts of the world. It seemed that zones of safety in Europe were comfortably and safely distanced from the zones of dangers in other parts of the world. Europe and the European citizens were unprepared and reacted--in many cases--in an undignified way.

The Hungarian government was the first to engage in racist, populist rhetoric by building fences and treating the migrants and refugees inhumanly. In the summer of 2015, the front pages of the international media ran photographs of thousands of people crowded at Budapest Keleti (Eastern) railway station, or those who were forced to march on foot to the western borders, who were treated shamefully: it was as if Hungary was one of the ugliest police states.


During the summer, Blinken OSA turned its building into a logistical station and warehouse for food and other essentials for the refugees and working closely with the voluntary organization, Migration Aid, tried to provide help in whatever way possible. The Archives’ employees and staff helped and volunteered at the railway stations or at public kitchens preparing food for the incoming refugees. In addition to the surveillance theme, Verzio Film Festival also devoted a whole program of documentaries to putting the refugee crisis into the focus of attention. “Face to Face, Screening the Refugee Crisis” explored how the power of images can shape opinion, challenge stereotypes and call ordinary people to action. As part of the program, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee - the preeminent organization helping the refugees with legal intervention - organized follow-up public debates with legal advisors, journalist, social scientist and filmmakers. The films and debates examined how European societies tried to cope – usually in inadequate ways leading to Brexit, and ultimately the imminent danger of the disintegration of the European Union, the European security system, and Europe, herself.

The Archives is a complex institution. As the uncertainty of its name demonstrates, it is several things at the same time that accounts for professional, historical and moral obligations.


Staff in Focus

Branislav Kovačević

"I spent 16 years working in the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) Quite enough time for something to become a part of one’s life. Does it qualify me to write subjectively about the institution and work I’ve been doing here for all these years? Probably. But what is even more subjective to me is the general idea Blinken OSA and every other archive is built upon: the idea of preserving something so fluid and elusive as memory. Memory is always subjective, no matter how hard we try to give it an objective appearance, or how many pieces of evidence, artifacts, documents or testimonies we collect to corroborate it. And sometimes we try exactly the opposite, to erase the memories, relieve ourselves from that burden we call memories, if they are not so pleasant.

This reminds me of the first year I arrived to Hungary, fleeing from the NATO bombing of Serbia at the culmination of a long, dark decade of the 1990s. Obviously this move was, besides all other things, a desperate attempt to leave behind a lot of memories and remove them forever. As it happened, one of my first tasks as a member of OSA was to watch and describe hundreds of hours of video materials related to the war in Yugoslavia. So the process of erasing memories quickly reversed itself into feeding and reviving them. I did my job with a strange feeling of living again with those events and images I tried to run away from. Not exactly like "Groundhog Day", but close. However, unlike Connors, who learned how to play jazz piano among other things, in my case, having finished my first assignment, I happily ventured into records management and later digital preservation area. This created an opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally as well and somehow come to terms with the traumatic memories.

Now that I’m finishing my work at the Blinken OSA, the issue of memories comes up again, as it does in any situation when one closes one part of life and opens another. However, now the memories I’ll take with me are the most pleasant ones, complemented with the deep feeling of gratitude for having an opportunity to contribute to an inspiring archival and cultural experiment called Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives. Keep it on!"


Staff in Focus

Emily Hanlon

It was a strange thing getting a call back for the Data Specialist position at the Blinken OSA. For my first interview with OSA I prepared myself to list, by rote, the Dublin Core elements and what I figured were Central European historical dates of note, but the interview ended up, at least from my perspective, being more of a conversation, a sharing of ideas. After another interview, my acceptance of the position and way more planning than I am comfortable looking back on, I arrived in Budapest for the first time, not knowing a single soul in the region.

My experience at Blinken OSA was such that despite the fact that I was alone in the city, I felt at home. Not only was I among professionals who care deeply about cultural and institutional memory, but I found friends who in our work interactions and eventually outside of the office, would make me feel understood and anchored because of their accepting nature and open minds. I have never had the privilege to work with a group of colleagues as diverse in personality, background and expertise as I did at the Blinken OSA.

Another noteworthy aspect of my time at the Blinken OSA is that I have never worked as hard as I did here. The staff ask questions: ‘why’ and ‘how’ and ‘is this possible’. Coming up with these questions and then having the space to ask them is another thing that makes the Blinken OSA special. It isn’t always easy to make room for this type of experimentation but I witnessed some of the results of this work and had the privilege to participate in projects that reflect this mentality and that is an incredible experience. It’s also crazy hard work.

Finally, I want to note that the importance of this institution in the city and the community was made very clear to me by public programming attendance and the types of outreach and education that Blinken OSA works so, so hard to produce. As we all know, these events provide context and significance for the institution itself but also to the collections we are managing for the long term. I learned so much from these events but also felt a part of a community.

‘In conclusion’, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone for allowing me the space to participate on your projects and provide input. I am so grateful for the work we were able to accomplish together. These are the things that I will take with me. Sincerely.


Staff in Focus

József Gábor Bóné

"I am celebrating my 10th year at Central European University (CEU) and 7 years of being part of the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) team. I’m in the lucky position to say that being at Blinken OSA is anything but boringly and predictable. The work I’m doing is vibrant and diverse, new challenges and technologies are always there to research and keep your mind fresh, and Blinken OSA is a brilliant workplace to let creativity go wild. After several years, I’m not just familiar with many programming languages and database search engines, but I also gained confidence and more importantly practical knowledge in archives and library science. My biggest professional goal is to use this knowledge to create better tools for researchers and to be able to present Blinken OSA’s wide variety of collections to our online visitors while also improving my knowledge in fields like digital preservation, research support, linked data or content analysis. My dream is to develop an archival cataloging solution which uses as much automated processing as possible (entity recognition, automated OCR, keyword extraction, geo-tagging) to shorten cataloging time and allow us to focus more on content enrichment and digitization."


Thematic Overview

Csaba Szilágyi

The highlight of 2015 was undoubtedly the ‘acquisition’ of the name and personal papers of Vera and Donald Blinken. Nine years after taking the 1956 Hungarian refugee interviews collection under their patronage, Vera, a refugee from Hungary, and Donald, a former US ambassador to Budapest decided to endow the archives and further enrich its holdings with invaluable diplomatic papers, correspondence, photographs, media clippings and ephemera. A long-standing, friendly relationship was thus formalized on the evening of November 3, contributing to an even more secure operational environment for the Archives.

Throughout the year, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) holdings grew with other significant new acquisitions, too. Following lengthy negotiations, the American Refugee Committee decided to donate the mission and operation files of their Balkan Chapter (1992-2007) to Blinken OSA, which included expert reports, correspondence, press clippings, photographs and maps. This was a serious contribution to our already extremely rich Yugoslavia Archive. Blinken OSA acquired the personal papers (manuscripts, research material, state security documents and correspondence) of the prominent Hungarian sociologist and former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) contributor István Kemény. Smaller research collections from Mária Heller, István Kamarás, Judit H. Sas and Mária Sági were also added to the Voices of the 20th Century (digital) archive, a repository for preserving the documentary heritage of the Hungarian sociological research supported and cooperated by Blinken OSA. The personal papers of Gábor Magos, a former close colleague of Imre Nagy, Hungary’s PM during the 1956 uprising, and of his wife, Judit Gimes-Magos also ended up at Blinken OSA, covering their activities during 1956 and their life in Swiss exile. Their documents include manuscripts, publications, correspondence, as well as some rare small prints and photographs.


Inspired by the increasing demand for moving image sources coming from our researchers, the processing of current and new archival material was centered on audiovisual collections. Following a small textual accrual to the predominantly video-based Black Box Foundation archives, the en-masse processing and digitizing of footage on the regime change and democratic transition in Hungary (1988-1996) continued at a fast pace. The re-archiving of TV broadcasts from state television stations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia (1993-1996) within the Yugoslavia Archive Project moved on to its second, metadata enhancement phase, when new archiving techniques (like simultaneous, comparative processing and geo-coding) and self-documentation of the work were also introduced.

The cataloging of documentary films with strong social content, mostly from the latest edition of the Verzio International Documentary Film Festival (Verzio), to our unique Film Library went on steadily. Over 300 new items were added throughout the year and the total number of titles now exceeds 4,000. Blinken OSA also digitized and cataloged the newly acquired moving image collection of Árpád Ajtony, a prominent Hungarian émigré social-psychologist, scriptwriter, and filmmaker, including his experimental, 16mm films, and several hundred black-and-white photos on news production, editorial and board meetings, campaigns, infrastructure and architecture of RFE/RL. In the meantime, one of Blinken OSA’s already processed collections, the Living Voices of Chernobyl, containing video testimonies of people affected by the nuclear catastrophe of 1986 went into the spotlight, when its creator and donor, Svetlana Alexievich received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature.


Finally, for the first time in its short history, Blinken OSA started the processing of over 26,000 Russian language audio recordings from RFE/RL containing news, political programs, reading sessions, poetry recitals and radio plays from 1953-1995.

Blinken OSA also re-archived, processed and published several primarily textual materials. Among them the personal papers of the former dissident, samizdat publisher and Budapest mayor, Gábor Demszky; the files of the philosopher of science and Central European University (CEU) founder Bill Newton-Smith; the research collection of the Hungarian historian László Varga; the records of the Foundation for the Support of European Intellectuals; and thousands of encrypted daily messages on microfilm from the Free Europe Committee. The Library re-arranged important human rights publications from the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, and published two rare collections of mainly Russian language periodicals from the samizdat unit of Radio Liberty: Regional Press and Informal Press, containing over 2,700 titles.

To provide better access to these sources, Blinken OSA launched its long-awaited, new catalog integrating its archival, library, film library and digital repository material, while continuing to build its custom-tailored, web-based archival management system developed by Blinken OSA’s own IT unit. The results were visible in a growing number of on-site and online research requests submitted by diverse constituencies. The most recurring research topics were refugees, emigration, propaganda, surveillance, war crimes, human rights, and humanitarian law, spread evenly between geographic terms including Romania, Hungary, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.


Blinken OSA’s Records Management team continued their important work smoothing the transition of semi-current records from the Central European University (CEU) and the Open Society Foundations (OSF) to the two record centers. Sponsored from an external grant, they also sped up their pioneering work on collecting and digitizing records related to Roma programs within the various entities of OSF, and also began their cooperation with an external IT partner to build an intelligent digital repository for the records.

As in previous years, Blinken OSA’s faculty and staff members were involved in quite a number of research projects and teaching activities. They submitted an H2020-Reflective-Society-2015 research grant application to create an online registry of all possible forms of cultural opposition in the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe; advanced their in-house teamwork on exploring the implications of the right to be forgotten on current archival practice; and founded new research topics such as the (history of) civil wars in Afghanistan in 1973-2001 and their impact on current global affairs. Some of the courses taught in this academic year included Archives, Evidence and Human Rights; Fields of Vision: Historical Imagery Between Art and Archiving; Documentary Heritage: Practices of Managing Information; and Historiography: Themes in Its History and Approaches to its Theory. They were offered to the departments of History, Cultural Heritage Studies, Medieval Studies and Legal Studies at CEU.


Blinken OSA has always been reflective on social issues and humanitarian crises, and has strived to promote and protect basic human rights by standing up against injustices of all kinds, discrimination, racism, and xenophobia. In order to explore how the power of images can influence our knowledge and beliefs about the refugees, the 12th edition of Blinken OSA’s Verzio dedicated an entire section to screenings and informed discussions on the refugee scene in Hungary and Europe.

Blinken OSA’s public history program continued with several events, such as exhibitions, public debates and expert workshops on the planned reconstruction of the Buda Castle and the Royal Palace, entitled The Brand New Royal Palace. The series of events, preceded by an open letter sent to the official committee in charge of planning, aimed at engaging the government in a public debate with the citizens on what kind of reconstruction, conversion and additional buildings can be justified historically, archaeologically and architecturally; and what kind of functions should the renewed historical site have.

We closed the year 2015 with the legendary Mexican Suitcase photo exhibition. Displaying long-forgotten, apparently lost and then re-discovered negatives and prints by Robert Capa. the world renowned documentary photographer of Hungarian descent, and his two fellow photojournalists, Gerda Taro and Chim (David Seymour) on the unfolding events of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Over 4,500 negatives were found in three suitcases in a Mexico City attic in 2007, and these give a unique view into the work of these three very different authors, considered by many to be the founders of modern war photography. The exhibition spanned over the next year, in conjunction with a film series including pieces on the discovery of the negatives, as well as memories of the civil war gathered under the title Eyes on Spain.


Collection Development / New Acquisitions

Örs Lehel Tari

In 2015 the holdings of the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) were extended by the addition of the following collections:

The records of the American Refugee Committee (ARC) belong to the Balkan Chapter of the organization. The corpus contains reports, press clippings and articles on the activity of the ARC from 1992-2007. The collection also includes photos and film slides from field missions to Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

The István Kemény Personal Papers consist mainly of research material created and collected during the course of taboo-breaking social inquiries led by István Kemény, the Hungarian sociologist. The research projects aimed to explore the situation of the Roma, the poor and workers in Hungary during the 1970s. The collection also includes manuscripts and radio transcripts created as a result of István Kemény’s activities at Radio Free Europe.

Documents in the collection of Fred C. Abrahams were obtained via the Freedom of Information Act in the United States as part of Abraham's research on modern Albania. The declassified documents are predominantly from the State Department but also from a few other US agencies.


Documentary film creator Márta Elbert (Black Box Foundation) and the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives have been in contact since the establishment of OSA in 1995. The development of the collection continued with the shipment of video, textual and electronic records to OSA. In 2015 the collection was expanded with textual records, mostly printed material, administrative files and film project-related records.

The Archives provides space for the constantly growing textual collection of the Voices of the 20th Century Archive and Research Group, which aspires to preserve the heritage of Hungarian sociology. The newly deposited physical collection (mainly interviews and case studies) encompasses the research documentation of sociologists István Kamarás, Mária Sági, Judit H. Sas. More information about the project is available on the website of the research group

The Archives also acquired the Annotations on Intellectual Debates in Hungary during the Kádár period collection. The documents were created during the course of a social research program led by sociologist Mária Heller, entitled “Intellectuals' Discourses and Role Perception in Contemporary Hungarian Public Life”. Researchers undertook the structural analysis of ‘limited publicity’ by studying particular debates and theoretical problems of public communication strategies and the appearance of opposition between ‘private’ and ‘public’ in the strategies of public speakers during the Kádár regime.


The András Hegedűs Personal Papers collection has been expanded with 77 photo prints of Hungary’s former prime minister András Hegedűs, taken mostly in the 1950s. They portray Hegedűs as a politician, and cover his participation at Communist Party gatherings, party schools, visits to factories and cooperatives in Hungary and abroad.

The Gábor Magos Personal Papers contain documents, photos, audio cassettes and CD-ROMs pertaining to the early personal life, 1956 activities and the years in Swiss exile of agricultural engineer and college professor Gábor Magos and his wife, Judit Gimes-Magos. Gábor Magos was a close colleague of Imre Nagy during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. His brother-in-law Miklós Gimes, a journalist and politician, was executed for his revolutionary activities together with Imre Nagy and Pál Maléter in 1958.


Digital Preservation

József Gábor Bóné, Károly Tímári

Despite the fact, that digital preservation is relatively young on the scale of the existence of archival science, its impact today is undeniably huge. An enormous amount of information already exists only in digital form, stored for the longer run. This creates new challenges, and we at the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) try to meet this challenge. For example, digital preservation is much more than saving files to a storage server, yet a reliable storage server is a key component of a successful digital preservation system. Besides the need of secure storage (with continuous expansion in mind), a digital preservation system should also ensure file validation, obsolete format tracking and migration, access rights management.

Blinken OSA currently has approximately 38 TB of storage capacity, served by a storage server using RAID technology, to ensure prevention against hard disk faults. One copy of our digital master holdings is stored on this server. A secure copy is written to LTO4 or LTO5 tapes, which ensures that data could be recovered in case of a disaster. With our storage needs covered, we aim to evaluate and introduce a digital preservation system software in the near future. By using an OAIS compliant software model we plan to define a workflow with tasks that help us ensure that long-term preservation best practices and recommendations are used.


Data and Information Management

József Gábor Bóné

Blinken OSA maintains the following systems which serve the purpose of:

  • Online search and discovery interface
  • Cataloging tool for archival structure and metadata
  • Cataloging tool for library data

OSA Catalog

Our new catalog was introduced in late 2015 and includes the Blinken OSA archival holdings, library and film library materials and the content of the digital repository. Altogether, researchers can search and browse 422,564 records and this number is constantly increasing.

Archival Management System

Our new web-based archival management system, which will serve as the cataloging interface of our archival finding aids, will be introduced in 2016. It aimed to provide an easier, but more controlled and validated user interface for the members of the archive involved in processing.

Both systems are maintained and customized by Blinken OSA which gives us the opportunity to constantly think about improvements. We plan to integrate an archival loan module to the catalog, where researchers will be able to send online requests directly to our research room. A user management module will be introduced as well to be able to use existing CEU, or ORCID accounts. Zotero support will be added to support citations and research activity.


Film Library

Anikó Kövecsi

Featuring over 4,000 titles, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives’ (Blinken OSA) Film Library (FL) contains documentaries, rare fiction and propaganda films. Each year, hundreds of submissions to Verzio International Documentary Film Festival are added to the FL making it the country’s largest, continuously growing, free access human rights documentary collection.

In 2015, close to 300 films were added to the collection which is available for research and educational purposes free of charge in Blinken OSA’s Research Room. Cinema classics, propaganda and educational films, as well as thousands of human rights documentaries await students, educators, researchers, and the general public.

The FL is maintained and developed by a team of film professionals as well as dedicated interns and volunteers throughout the year. Search the FL by keyword, director, country of production, and language.

Want to see more unique films? Browse Blinken OSA’s rich audiovisual collections



Katalin Dobó

The two collections that we opened for the public in 2015, HU OSA 300-85-18 Regional Press and HU OSA 300-85-19 Informal Press consist of 2,790 titles, mainly in Russian language, but also covering non-Russian speaking republics and regions of the former USSR.

Both the regional and informal press were collected by the samizdat unit of Radio Liberty, the latter considered as integral part of the samizdat collection. In 1989, an anti-censorship law was approved by Soviet legislature allowing the publication of books and newspapers without government approval. As a result, the number of publications issued by independent organizations, political, religious and professional groups increased dramatically, many of them small-circulation, local publications created in regions of the country. Newspapers and magazines printed between 1987-1996 document the sometimes chaotic, rapidly changing life of a falling empire, with emerging new parties, movements, and countries, from very different, non-official aspects, and represent many different voices.

As a major achievement of the year these new records - together with other library and archival content - can be consulted through the newly introduced integrated catalog.


Records Management Services

Judit Izinger, Miloš Pavlović

The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives’ (Blinken OSA) Records Management Services were established to preserve the institutional memory and history of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) network and to provide recordkeeping consultancy services to the Foundations’ institutions. The Blinken OSA Records Management (RM) team mainly serves the Open Society Institute–Budapest (OSI–Budapest) office and other OSF offices throughout Europe, including the national foundations, as well as providing RM services to the Central European University’s (CEU) offices and departments.

The strategy had been for many years to try to become involved in the creation phase of the records’ life cycle. However, especially in the case of the national foundations in several countries, we have gradually shifted to rescue operations, risk management, and performing preservation activities. The reason for this is that the Blinken OSA RM team has limited capacity and funding. Besides, the global network with its geographically dispersed foundations and offices constitutes a real challenge to the small RM team.

The RM team maintains two on-site records centers and two off-site storage facilities for OSI-Budapest and CEU. In 2015, 1487 containers (boxes/binders) of paper based records were transferred from OSI-Budapest and CEU programs/departments/offices to the two on-site records centers and 233 containers were retrieved by OSI and CEU staff members. As a regular RM procedure, 943 containers of records were destroyed after their retention period expired and 157 containers of permanent records were transferred to Blinken OSA for long-term preservation.


Due to the relocation of the OSI-Budapest offices and CEU departments planned for the summer of 2016, the RM team started to work more closely and frequently with OSF and CEU staff members on clean-up days, updating Records Retention Schedules, and training staff on using the records center/storage database for records transfer. In 2015, the Making the Most of the EU Funds for the Roma (MtM) OSF program and the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat Foundations closed their operations. To cope with the records management implications, the Blinken OSA RM team, helped by additional staff, provided guidance in records management and preservation procedures to these offices.

The Blinken OSA RM team assists the OSF network and CEU in recordkeeping and preservation of electronic records as well. Digital electronic records of permanent value are uploaded to the Soros Network Archival Portal (SNAP), the Open Society Foundations permanent documents digital repository, which currently stores 20,081 items, containing more than 100,000 individual documents.


The Blinken OSA team continued collecting and preserving Roma-related paper and electronic records of several OSF entities and Roma programs in the framework of the Roma Digital Repository Project (RDRP), Blinken OSA’s major OSF network related activity. The paper records with permanent value were digitized and together with the existing digital electronic records of permanent value were uploaded to a digital repository. In addition, the RM team also supervised short-term assistant archivists in preparing, i.e. selecting, digitizing, and describing Roma-related OSF materials already in Blinken OSA holdings for RDRP. Such holdings included the records of the Open Society Institute–Croatia with its 175 archival boxes and the records of the Foundation Open Society Institute–Representatives Office Montenegro with 77 archival boxes.

In the second half of the year, the Blinken OSA team started to work with a Romania-based IT company in building a repository for the documents collected and digitized in the framework of the Roma Digital Repository Project. The first phase of the project is building a working Proof of Concept, that will extract information from the digitized documents, link the data to the existing metadata and enable Blinken OSA to query data as defined in various use cases. Individual steps towards that goal include data structure definition, metadata fields extraction and creating ontology concepts based on that extraction and, finally, defining semantic queries to explore the documents. This phase of the project ends in mid-2016.


Reference Services

Robert Parnica

Researchers and their research strategies in Blinken OSA

In 2015, the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) collections attracted a great variety of researchers. We serviced many academics who came for a set period of time, consulted Blinken OSA’s online databases prior to their arrival, and conducted targeted research with little assistance needed from the reference services staff. We also had many students who needed guidance in developing their research topics and finding relevant materials in our collections, as well as researchers from NGOs and other professionals developing various projects. The Visegrad Scholarship program brings 15 researchers annually to explore the collections of Blinken OSA. We also have returning scholars as well as students who originally came to write a research paper and continued to develop these towards their MA and PhD theses.

In terms of research strategies, we have noticed a shift in research room practices. Since researchers have the opportunity to make digital copies of the materials in Blinken OSA collections, on occasion, their research period gets reduced in time as the actual intellectual processing happens outside the Archives.


Research Topics and Sources

In 2015, the majority of the researched materials focused on issues related to the history of the Cold War, Communism and post-communist transition. Some of the most frequent keywords were: emigration, refugees, propaganda, nationalism, surveillance, and the institutional history of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Popular geographical terms included: Romania, Hungary, Poland, Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. There were many researchers, mostly from the war-affected areas of ex-Yugoslavia, examining Blinken OSA’s human rights collections as well, with popular searches for keywords such as: humanitarian and international law, genocide, abuse, Srebrenica, and ex-Yugoslavia. It should be noted that most of the researchers explored the collections relevant to their own country of origin.

Recently, there has been increased interest in the Soros Foundations Network papers reflecting a renewed interest in the birth of civil society after the fall of Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe. Some of the key terms researched were: support, higher education, arts, funds, stipends, public policy, and legal status. Biographies of prominent Hungarian artists and politicians were also popular, which proves that the biographical records, especially those of RFE/RL, contain valuable information and constitute a historical source of permanent value. Concurrent with the use of archival materials, researchers usually consulted our rich reference library as well. Most of the books in use are related to the institutional history of the RFE/RL and the Srebrenica genocide. Audiovisual materials, including the Film Library and other audiovisual collections, are also quite popular and are researched in combination with other primary and secondary sources (books and other publications).



General statistics show that the number of archival documents consulted grows continuously. An increase from 3088 in 2014 to 3420 in 2015, indicates a growth to 4.7 requests per day in 2015 as compared to 4.4 in 2014, which can be partly explained by the steady presence of the Visegrad Scholarship grantees. More than 50% of the researched materials focus on the Records of RFE/RL. The human rights collections are also in high demand.

Year Days Open Visitors Visits Visits a day Visit avg. time Requests Photocopy pages Documents number
2015 217 264 1,419 6.5 03:54 1,024 67,919 3,420
2014 219 338 1,468 6.7 03:47 981 96,793 3,088


Research Projects

1. Cultural Dissidence under Communism

Proposal for the Horizon 2020 European Union Program The proposal aimed at examining the grey zone between dissident art and thinking and the officially supported or tolerated field of intellectual and artistic activities through the analysis of archival registration, categorization and qualifications of national archives, archives of the state security services and archives in the West related to Eastern and Central European affairs and the Communist bloc during the Cold War period. The application did not receive sufficient support.

2. Oral history project

The history of the Hungarian Democratic opposition from the 1960s until the collapse of the one-party dictatorship. This was supposed to be included in the Horizon project, though had deeper roots. The project started in 2009 in cooperation with the 1956 Institute, Budapest with interviews conducted with the main figures of the Hungarian Democratic opposition. The last interviews were accomplished in 2015. The planned outcome is for the edited interviews to be published online in digital format on a website. The editing work is still ongoing.


3. The Castle project

Analysis of the post-war plans for re-building Budapest after 1945, the contemporary perception of the Hungarian catastrophe during WW II, the collapse of the pre-war Hungarian regime and its effects on early post-war thinking about the reconstruction of Budapest. The research covered the relevant records of the Budapest City Archives, as well as the pre-history of philosophical, architectural, esthetic, political and cultural contemplations behind these plans during pre-war times. The result of the project was an exhibition in Galeria Centralis and a series of publications in the Hungarian press. The second phase of the project was finally abandoned.

4. 1945 in Hungarian history

This was part of the Castle project aiming at analyzing the character and potential future perspectives of 1945 in Hungarian history within the context of recent historiographical debates on the role and fate of Hungary during WW II. Following the project, our Research Fellow András Mink, gave a keynote speech at a conference organized by the Imre Nagy Memorial House in Budapest in May, 2015.

5. The war in Afghanistan

The preliminary research on the historiography and records of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan started in September 2015. This was the preparatory work for an exhibition intended to present the history of the Afghan civil wars and wars from 1973 till 2001 that contributed to a great extent to the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet empire and the regime changes in Eastern and Central Europe, and still have a crucial effect on global affairs.



The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) not only serves as a resource for teachers from the Central European University (CEU) and other educational institutions but also takes an active part in education itself. Our colleagues participate in teaching various courses at CEU, some of which were initiated and developed by Blinken OSA. The oldest course, Archives, Evidence and Human Rights (AEHR) started in 2002, and was offered to students of the Legal Dept. and has been taught by Ivan Szekely, Csaba Szilagyi and Andras Mink every year since then. The originally one-credit, one-module multidisciplinary course became a two-credit course in 2012, spanning two modules from November to February and cross-listed with the History Department. From the year 2015 onwards, the schedule of the course follows the semester calendar; this year the course spanned the period of September to December, and attracted 15 students from various countries. AEHR students not only attend classes but also participate in two workshops during the course, and, most importantly, have to choose an individual research topic, conduct individual research in Blinken OSA under the guidance of their supervisor, and write an essay about their research findings.


AEHR also served as the basis of the Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization which will first become available in January 2017 for law and history students who have already completed the AEHR course.

Gabriella Ivacs participated in the program committee and faculty of the new two-year MA program officially known as Cultural Heritage Studies: Academic Research, Policy, and Management, covering different academic disciplines and units related to cultural heritage, including historical studies, cultural anthropology and sociology, humanities, environmental studies and policy, public policy, and business and management studies.

Following a long-standing tradition, István Rév, this time together with Ioana Macrea-Toma and Daniel Ziemann of the History Department, offered an elective course titled “Historiography: Themes in its history and approaches to its theory: The historical emergence of issues that concern the present” in the fall semester 2015.


Public Programs

Nóra Bertalan

The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) staged 5 exhibitions altogether; one was curated by Blinken OSA Staff and the remaining four were hosted/or traveling exhibitions.

The first one, entitled Drones, Holo Film and 3D – Cutting-edge Technologies in Archaeology and Preservation of Built Heritage was co- organized with the Cultural Heritage Program of the Central European University (CEU) and the Archaeolingua Foundation and Press and was part of a larger two-day program series. It presented cutting edge technologies and tools that archeologist employ during archeological and architectural research. Visitors could study the equipment on site and technological demonstrations were organized during the exhibition. Despite being open for only two days it attracted a large number of visitors.

The Brand New Royal Castle STOP IT - Part 1: The Wreck was to be the first exhibition to draw attention to the fatuous rebuilding plans of Buda Castle and The Royal Palace, it was intended to be the opening event of a whole-year program series. This small scale exhibition was to be followed by a larger scale exhibition in the Gallery. What was unique about this “introductory” exhibition installation is that for the first time since the Archives moved into the Goldberger building the curators were using the lobby of the Blinken OSA as an exhibition space instead of the main Gallery even though the Gallery stood empty during that time. Instead of staging a larger scale exhibition for a variety of professional reasons the opening phase was followed by a conference (See Conferences section).


The third major exhibition of 2015, entitled History Restaged and curated by Edit Molnár and Lívia Páldi, was part of a unique initiative that was freshly launched in Budapest in the spring of 2015. Defined by the organizers as “a series of exhibitions and art events in and beyond the city of Budapest. The first edition of the OFF-Biennale Budapest was conceived as a game-changer in the cultural sector of Hungary and included more than 160 projects, 200 artists, 180 events, 130 venues, and 600 stakeholders (artists, curators, galleries, organizers, cultural workers, and supporters.)” Blinken OSA was invited to participate in this new collaborative effort by hosting an exhibition. The curators described the exhibition History Restaged as an event that “brings together artists whose practices address the necessity of critical thinking and of individual and collective responsibility. Employing strategies of re-staging, where the line between documentary and fiction ceases to exist, the selected works use filmic, literary, archival and art historical references to revisit historically significant events and unsettle our conventional notions of reality.” The combined effort of the curators and the exhibition organizers at Blinken OSA resulted in a fascinating exhibition, which was highly appreciated by Budapest audiences, and gave a unique glimpse into the contemporary art scene.


The next exhibit was the European premiere of a traveling show curated by Yukiko Yamagata Open Society Foundations (OSF) entitled Moving Walls 22 / Watching You, Watching Me. The exhibition set out to explore “how photography can be both an instrument of surveillance and a tool to expose and challenge its negative impact”. It included many pieces designed specifically for the theme as well as “firsts”, including the first-ever display of Edu Bayer’s photographs of the late Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi’s security headquarters. The exhibition also highlighted the work of ten artists and tried to give “a satellite-to-street view of the ways in which surveillance culture blurs the boundaries between the private and public realm. Their use of photography included a dynamic range of artistic approaches—from documentary to conceptual practice and from appropriation to street art.” The exhibition was complemented by the Secret Police International Film Festival that lasted throughout December and was a result of cooperation with the Goethe Institut-Budapest and the Open Society Foundations–New York.


With the support of the Spanish Embassy and the Cervantes Institute Budapest, an exhibition based on the legendary Mexican Suitcase opened in the gallery of the Archives in December 2015. The Mexican Suitcase, curated by Cynthia Young (International Center of Photography, New York) was a spectacular exhibition about the Spanish Civil War through the lenses of Robert Capa and fellow photojournalists Gerda Taro and Chim (David Seymour). The legendary Mexican Suitcase containing Robert Capa’s Spanish Civil War negatives, considered lost since 1939, have recently been rediscovered and exhibited here for the first time. The negatives gave an extraordinary insight into the portraits and battle sequences of the Spanish Civil War - images that had become iconic over the years. This exhibition was important not only because it revealed something lost and later rediscovered, but because it also offered a spectacular glimpse of the work of three key photojournalists of an era that laid the foundations of and defined the genre of modern war photography.


Hosted Events

In addition to the programs initiated, curated and implemented by the staff of Blinken OSA, there are many hosted events every year. With the changing political environment and the continuously diminishing financial resources available to the non-profit sector, many NGOs and civil society initiatives seek the Archives’ help for infrastructural support. The year began with hosting the LMBT Historical series program opening event in January.

Another significant urban history event supported by the Blinken OSA with infrastructure and manpower was the Budapest 100 program initiated and launched originally by Blinken OSA in 2011. Since then the program has continued to gain ground and has won serious recognition over the years as new staff and volunteers joined in. It is organized by a large staff who meet regularly in the Goldberger House, the permanent home of Blinken OSA.

The Archives also joined the MARGO Literary Festival as a participating venue. The Night of Literature was an event with 22 writers and 4 venues on June 4, 2015. Interested visitors had a chance to listen to famous Hungarian writers reading from their latest works. On October 22, a conference was hosted and dedicated to writer and liberal thinker István Eörsi, with the title Eörsi the Homo Politicus, Eörsi the Homo Ludens.

In response to the worsening refugee crisis in the summer of 2015, Blinken OSA offered its conference room for related press events to various NGOs and civil society organizations, including the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian International Press Association, while the gallery space was made available to Migration Aid to collect and distribute aid for the refugees.


Conferences and Workshops

In another one of our public history projects, Blinken OSA called for a dialog on the issue of the government’s plans to rebuild the Buda Castle. It was launched with the Initiative for Dialog about the Palace and continued with a conference and public professional forum where members of the Social Board of the National Hauszmann Plan, government officials in charge, professionals, and interested citizens were invited to publicly discuss plans and ideas.

In October, Blinken OSA organized a curatorial workshop for the CEU professional community on the Archival Legacy of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.


Film Screenings

Film screening are also an essential component of Blinken OSA’s public programs. We hosted the pre-premiere screening of Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning documentary CitizenFour in april. The event was co-organized with the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University, and attracted a professional audience of journalists, lawyers, civil society activists, academics, students and archivists. The screening included a Skype discussions with Anthony Romero, (Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and Edward Snowden's lawyer in the US) and Gill Phillips (Director of Editorial Legal Services, The Guardian).

The Secret Police Film Festival, which showcased 16 films from 5 countries in 6 weeks was organized in conjunction with the exhibition Watching You, Watching Me. With support from the co-organizer Goethe Institut-Budapest and the secret police archives from Germany, Poland and Slovakia, a retrospective film program was curated, which included an international selection of training films, newsreels and operative films produced by Communist Secret Police forces between 1962 and 1989.

In December, Blinken OSA hosted Inside Look - a film screening series curated by Ellen Hume of the Central European University (CEU). The event was conceived as a film laboratory about the civil rights movements in the US and Roma rights movements in Hungary and Eastern Europe. Four outstanding films were screened, after which experts were invited as discussants.


Public Lectures

Public lectures are a core element of Blinken OSA’s public programs, and lecturers are invited on a regular basis either by the Archives or in collaboration with the various departments of CEU. In October, Thomas A. Dine, the former President of RFE/RL gave a lecture entitled Totalitarianism Still Prevails in Europe and Eurasia: The Relevance of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Today.

On the invitation of the Department of Gender Studies, the Center for Teaching and Learning at CEU and Blinken OSA, Robin Kirk, co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University, gave a presentation on human rights pedagogy entitled Learning Collaboratively, Learning Immersively: Lessons in Human Rights Pedagogy.


Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

Anikó Kövecsi

Verzio is committed to presenting quality creative documentaries; it seeks to promote the ideas of open society, democracy, rule-of-law, tolerance, political and cultural pluralism within a global context as well as to expose abuse and human rights violations throughout the world. Verzio works towards creating a forum where films, viewpoints and interpretations are examined creatively and critically.

More than 7,000 visitors joined Verzio Film Festival during the 5 days of the event in November 10-15 to watch and talk about human rights. The festival venues were: Toldi Cinema, Művész Cinema, Cirko-Gejzír Cinema, Kino Cafe, and the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA). The opening speech was delivered by the distinguished writer Gergely Péterfy, in line with our tradition to invite notable personalities to open the festival, including Ildikó Enyedi, George Soros, Béla Tarr, and Miklós Jancsó.


Verzio Programs

The International Panorama featured a selection of 17 outstanding films in which creative filmmaking intertwined with political activism and reflections about contemporary society. The Hungarian Panorama showcased 11 recent stories from all walks of life in Hungary.

Thematic programs were:

Moving Subjects: Screening the Refugee Crisis – explored the complexities of asylum seeking and migration in a historical perspective.

Documenting Surveillance – in conjunction with the exhibition Moving Walls 22 / Watching You, Watching Me (October 14-December 8) Verzio showcased films that interpret and expand the concept of surveillance.

Crossroads – a joint program with Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival.

Zoom In: Student Film Competition – for the first time Verzio presented a competitive program of debut and student works evaluated by an international jury: György Báron, Film Critic, University Professor; Marcell Gerő, Film Director, Producer; Andrea Kuhn, Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival, Festival Director; Hana Kulhankova, One World Prague, Festival Director.


Outreach Programs

Verzio Pécs, November 19-21, Apolló Cinema, Pécs In 2015 a festival outreach program was organized in cooperation with Apolló Cinema and the House of Opportunities in Pécs.

DOCLAB Workshop - Face to Face: Refugees in Europe November 11-14, 2015 / CEU MEDIA LAB / OSA Archivum In 2015 Verzio DocLab focused on the refugee crisis in Europe and aimed at raising awareness and calling for a change in attitudes towards refugees.

High School Screenings In 2015 once more, Student Verzio invited students to discuss and challenge contemporary human rights issues via documentaries. 9 recent releases were presented at special morning screenings with follow-up debates. In 2015 these free student screenings were attended by 402 students:

Verzio further hosted a series of 4 special debates organized by the Hungarian Helsniki Committee.



Watching You, Watching Me: A Photographic Response to Surveillance
Frozen Conflicts: A journey through the unrecognized frontiers of Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and Transnistria, David Verberckt
Migration to Europe: The Czech Council on International Relations invited students of art schools to an international competition for the best poster on “Migration to Europe: Can it Work for Development?” in 2010.


ZOOM IN: Student Competition - USD 1,000
Coming Face to Face (director, Sára Haragonics)
Special Mention: Kiev/Moscow. Part 2 (director, Elena Khoreva)

Student Jury Award for the Best Human Rights Documentary Film - HUF 100,000
Toto and His Sisters (director, Alexander Nanau)

Audience Award - HUF 100,000
No Land’s Song (director, Ayat Najafi)


Verzio Team

Director / Oksana Sarkisova / Managing Director / Kövecsi Anikó / Finances / Gádoros Katalin, Jombach Márta / Communication, Marketing, Press / Seres Maraiann / Social media, video promotion / Eichner Hanna, Nagy Ildi / Verzio DocLab / Zsuzsanna Gellér-Varga, Orosz Anna, Oksana Sarkisova / Guest Services / Neasa de Barra, Jombach Márta / Venues Coordinator, Hungarian Program Coordinator, Student Verzio / Teszler Tamás, Lukácsi Zsófia / Screening copy logistics / Eszter Dániel, Lukácsi Zsófia, Dunai László, Teszler Tamás / Student Verzio, Q&A's and Concerts / Szirony Szabolcs / Hungarian Helsinki Committee Discussions / Zádori Zsolt / Volunteer Coordinator / Kövér Zsuzsa, Szabó Sára / Trailer / Dorka Gergely with Mario Cossu, Péter Klimó, Anna Hullár, Teresa Cossu, András Gondár, Patrizia Gatta / Verzio 12 spot / Eichner Hanna, Zene, DU3normal / Catalogue Editors / Kövecsi Anikó, Oksana Sarkisova / Catalogue Manuscript Pre-editor / Neasa de Barra, Imogen Bayley, Elettra Repetto / English Text Editor and Proofreader / Meiko Boynton / Catalogue, Flyer and Poster Design / Mathé Hanga / Web Design / Timári Károly / Logo / Tamási Miklós / Translation / Bori Erzsébet, Hegedüs Judit


Freyja Barkardottir (Iceland) Imogen Bayley (New Zeeland) Neasa de Barra (Ireland) Elettra Repetto (Italy)


Anett Dobosi, Adrián Bors, Aiski Ryokas, Aleksi Kauppinen, Anna Kádár, Anna Robinson, Bori Papp, Cansu Civelek, Dalma Matus, Dorottya Kiss, Dorottya Poór, Elettra Repetto, Emese Pap, Éva Király, Eva Maharos, Jitske Wadman, Katalin Szilvia Jung, Krisztina Csányi, Laura Marie Judge, Liana Cernov, Luca Pintér, Lynn Musiol, Mark-Antonio Zivic, Márton Pölcz, Mathis Gronau, Melike Futtu, Memduha Imer, Mirella Mikaci, Mirjam Mikaci, Monique Spijkers, Naum Trajanovski, Réka Danó, Rita Rozsos, Rodrigo Peroni, Sai Siddhartha, Valeriia Amitina, Ward Sanders, Zsófia Czakó


OSA in Figures

Katalin Gádoros

As in previous years the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives’ (Blinken OSA) core budget comfortably covered its basic operations, but without major external support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a grant of USD 237,000 against appropriate application and on condition of regular reporting, Blinken OSA would not have been able to cover the costs of all its Open Society Foundations network-related activities, its extensive processing and digitization operations, its collection extension, professional travel, or two indefinite term and several short-term temporary employment contracts for its projects.

Another grant of USD 9,255 from the OSF supported the implementation of the Verzio-Surveillance film series, a major event related to the 12th Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

The Visegrad Scholarship grant scheme started in 2010. Now it covers 15 two-month grants of EUR 2,000 each (for shorter periods the grand award is prorated) and also provides Blinken OSA with a small sum for overheads each academic year. In 2015, Blinken OSA received 17 Visegrad grantees from eight countries (among them three of V4 countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.)

Our biggest donation came from Vera and Donald Blinken, after whom OSA was renamed in November 2015. Their gift of USD 83,311 was earmarked for our year-long anniversary project on the 1956 Hungarian revolution.


The practice of Open Finance Days, which were introduced in order to make the financial operations more transparent and easier to follow, was continued. During these days, following a bi-annual financial report to the entire Blinken OSA community, non-personnel-related financial transactions are opened up for inspection by the staff of Blinken OSA for two consecutive days.Blinken OSA’s non-personnel financial operations can be otherwise followed in the monthly Management and Staff Meeting reports, respectively.

At the end of 2015, the staff of Blinken OSA numbered 43, although this figure fluctuated over the months, as some new colleagues were only contracted for a definite term. Of the 43 colleagues 7 were on short term contracts, 2 on IT payroll, one on unpaid leave, one on maternity leave and one was working on the basis of an unpaid volunteer contract. Blinken OSA’s core full time staff (not including those on leave, but including those on the IT payroll), counted 26. There were seven part time colleagues working on indefinite term contracts; the rest were working on a fixed term contract basis. The geographical distribution of the Blinken OSA staff spans 12 countries.

Additional tasks in projects that the staff of Blinken OSA could not complete due understaffing, were covered by externally contracted service providers, interns and Central European University (CEU) students on fixed-term employment contracts. Blinken OSA employed 13 CEU student interns on a contractual basis and hosted 8 unpaid volunteers, from a total of 11 countries.

The Blinken OSA Weekly, the regular in-house news bulletin, the monthly management meeting briefs, the regular staff meetings, and other information circulars helped the staff follow the latest developments in human resources as well as plans and programs.


Staff Publications

Macrea-Toma, Ioana, "The Intricacies of a (Cold) War of Ideas. Radio Free Europe from Above and from Below," in Anna Bischof & Zuzana Jürgens (eds.), Voices of Freedom - Western Interference? 60 years of Radio Free Europe, Göttingen : Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015, pp. 109-146.

Parnica, Robert, "Collaborative or Crowd-sourcing Archives," in Mirna Willer, Anne J. Gilliland, Marijana Tomić (eds.), Records, Archives and Memory : selected papers from the Conference and School on Records, Archives and Memory Studies, University of Zadar, Croatia, May 2013. Zadar : Sveučilište u Zadru, 2015

Sarkisova, Oksana, “Arctic Travelogues: Conquering the Soviet North” in Scott MacKenzie, Anna Stenport (eds.), Films on Ice: Cinemas of the Arctic. Edinburgh University Press, 2015, pp. 222-234.

Sarkisova, Oksana, “Taming the frontier: Alexander Litvinov’s expedition films and representations of indigenous minorities in the Far East,” in Studies in Russian and Soviet Cinema,  9:1 (2015): 2-23

Sarkisova, Oksana and Shevchenko, Olga, “Searching for a Soviet Past: Amateur Photography and Family Memory”, Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie 131 (2015) (in Russian)


Sarkisova, Oksana, “A Sixth Part of the World,” Pamir: Roof of the World,” “In Spring,” “The Court of Honour” entries in Birgit Beumers (ed.), Directory of World Cinema: Russia 2, Bristol, Chicago: Intellect, 2015, pp. 246-248, 318-323.

Székely, Iván, “The Four Paradigms of Archival History and the Challenges of the Future”, in Mika Merviö (ed.), Management and Participation in the Public Sphere, IGI-Global 2015, pp. 1-37.

Korenhof, Paulan, Jef Ausloos, Iván Székely, Meg Ambrose, Giovanni Sartor, Ronald Leenes, “Timing the Right to Be Forgotten: A study into “time” as a factor in deciding about retention or erasure of data”, in Serge Gutwirth, Ronald Leenes and Paul de Hert (eds.), Reforming European Data Protection Law, Springer Science+Business Media, Dordrecht, 2015 pp. 171-201.

Székely, Iván, “Az adatmentes zónák szükségessége és esélye. Helytelen reflexió Dessewffy Tibor és Láng László írására” [Data-free zones: Their necessity and chances. Improper reflection on the study by Tibor Dessewffy and Laszlo Lang], Replika, Vol. 92-93 (2015/3-4) pp. 209-225.

Székely, Iván, “Közadatok és nyilvános adatbázisok: a hozzáférés kérdései” [Public data and accessible databases: The questions of access], Educatio, Vol. 24, 2015 autumn, pp. 40-49.