Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (OSA)

One of the most important developments or events in the unit's history

In 2005, in exactly the tenth year of its existence OSA Archivum moved to its new home in the Goldberger building at Arany Janos utca 32, Budapest. Ten years later, OSA was renamed the Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives in honor of the couple, who have provided a major bequest to sustain the institution. Their gift will create a permanent endowed fund, which will allow the Archives to expand its critical work in preserving one of the world's most valuable archival collections related to the Cold War, human rights movements, and grave international human rights violations.

The most important development in 2014-15

The Yellow Star Houses project, OSA's one-year project, mobilized tens of thousands of Budapest citizens to map and commemorate the 1,600 yellow star houses remaining out of the 2,000 where Jews were forced to move into in 1944.

Other important developments in 2014-15

  • OSA launched its new collections catalogue with integrated search functions for archival, library and film catalogs, and its new website.
  • OSA's new Archives and Evidentiary Practices Specialization offers an introduction to contemporary archives and evidentiary practices in collaboration with the Departments of Legal Studies and History at CEU.
  • The three-year EU-funded Eawareness project aiming to publicize and enrich the Europeana Digital Library (the access point to the digital resources of European museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections) with user generated content was concluded in 2015 with three major collection days and hundreds of personal memories and memorabilia on the 1989 regime change in Hungary. The project landed OSA in the cooperative network of 49 European cultural institutions.
  • RDRP, the Roma Digital Repository aimed to collect, preserve, and make accessible in digital form documents, files, and data about the Roma-related activities of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and affiliated organizations from their beginnings to the present day. In the course of AY 2014-15, OSA worked closely with colleagues from OSF in ten different countries and institutions.

Engagement with external entities in 2014-15

  • In November 2015, OSA and CEU signed a joint memorandum with Radio Free Europe, according to which both the Radio and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the other custodians of the Radio's documentary heritage, will transfer copies of their historical documents to OSA, in order to digitally unify the split heritage of the Radio.
  • OSA hosted Archive/Image, a successful international interdisciplinary conference to bridge the gap between contemporary digital archival practices and academy theory regarding the image of – and the images in – the archive.
  • In cooperation with Google, OSA published two online exhibitions related to the Yellow Star Houses project on Google's Open Gallery, while a third one enriched the Fall of the Iron Curtain collection of the Google Cultural Institute.

Faculty distinctions in 2014-15

The Yellow Star Houses program was awarded the Gyorgy Varhegyi Prize for Hungarian Jewish Education by the Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association (MAZSIKE) in December 2014, and the Hanukatalizator Prize for the most innovative community initiative.

Major events in 2014-15

  • The Verzio Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, OSA's oldest annual public event, showcases current global human rights issues. In November 2014, Verzio attracted an audience of about six thousand in the five festival days.
  • Every April, Budapest 100, voted one of the best civic engagement initiatives in Europe, celebrates 100-year-old houses in Budapest. 30,000 Budapest citizens visit the events held in the open houses.
  • The Truth and Objectivity Film Laboratory, originally an additional event to a Historiography experimental seminar series on different issues and problem areas related to history writing, turned into a film seminar in its own right.
  • OSA was one of the venues of Off Biennale 2015, a voluntary collaborative initiative of artists, groups of artists, curators, art managers, gallerists and collectors.

Other news or information

Since 2010, OSA, in cooperation with the International Visegrad Fund, has been running its own scholarship scheme, the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA, welcoming 15 scholars each year.
OSA's latest art acquisition, the QR Code, a three meters by three meters art piece designed and installed by Gergely Barcza, consists of 2,916 slides, all relating to the life of a family over a period of more than 25 years.