New Chief Archivist at Blinken OSA

The Vera and Donald Blinken Open Society Archives (Blinken OSA) announced that longtime colleague Csaba Szilágyi—who was Acting Chief Archivist for some formative years—has been appointed as Chief Archivist. The Chief Archivist is responsible for the professional archival program, along with this new responsibility Csaba is the Head of the Human Rights Program.

Csaba Szilágyi started working at Blinken OSA soon after its establishment in 1996. His professional interest lies in the archival memory of the Yugoslav War and the related human rights violations, he was the curator of the exhibitions The Divide and Srebrenica – Exhumation. Csaba has been one of the teachers and initiators of the Archives, Evidence, and Human Rights course and the Archives and Evidentiary Practices specialization at CEU. He has been a pro bono archival consultant for the Srebrenica Memorial Center on behalf of Blinken OSA since December 2019, assisting in designing and establishing the archive and research center on the study of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam.

As Chief Archivist, he is determined to integrate human rights and social justice aspects in the everyday archival practice of Blinken OSA. Such a primary example is the long-term Yugoslav Archive Project, an online catalog created by students from the region, connecting our various archival collections relating to the former Yugoslavia; as well as the research and exhibition series titled Records Uncovered, in cooperation with the Háttér Archives and Library. The progressive participatory and community archival model will be included in the archival work: sensitive materials will be processed and described with the participation of affected communities. Szilágyi’s paper describing the method is available online, in the Blinken OSA Library in Budapest, and in the CEU Library in Vienna.

In the meantime, Csaba seeks to reinforce the relation between Blinken OSA and the Vienna-based CEU, to ensure the educational courses along with the archival services to the CEU community. Important tools and results of this effort are the accelerated digitization process, the Blinken OSA Research Cloud, and the digitization-on-demand services, as well as our forthcoming catalog, under construction, with embedded digital content.