Blinken OSA Archivum
Blinken OSA Archivum

Visegrad Scholarship at OSA

Call for Applications

The Blinken OSA Archivum invites applications for the 2024/2025 Visegrad Scholarship at OSA.

The submission deadline for the current call is July 25, 2024. More information about the application process can be found below. The second deadline for the academic year will be on November 15, 2024.

About the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA

The Visegrad Scholarship at OSA is a joint grant scheme of the International Visegrad Fund and the Blinken OSA Archivum. Designed to provide access to the Archivum in Budapest, Hungary, grants of 3,000 euros each cover travel to and from Budapest, a modest subsistence, and accommodation for a research period of eight weeks. For shorter periods the grant amount is pro-rated. The Archivum's academic and archival staff will provide tailored guidance, assist the fellows in their investigations, and facilitate contact with the CEU community.

With submission deadlines usually in July and November, the call invites applications along a central theme linked to the Archivum’s holdings, and includes suggested research topics. This academic year, the recommended theme of the proposals is The Language(s) of Freedom(s). The call is part of a reflexive-research program at the Archivum interested in connecting past issues related to oppressive regimes, censorship, violence, and information manipulation, to current phenomena. We would like to assess the potential of a genealogical project linking the contemporary epistemic and political crisis of democracy to past modes of inquiry and activism.

Applicants, preferably but not exclusively from a V4 country, may be researchers, students after their second degree carrying out research, socially engaged artists, as well as journalists. Scholars at risk from war zones and refugees of conscience (scholars fleeing authoritarian regimes) are especially invited to apply.

Since its start in 2010, the Visegrad Scholarship at the Blinken OSA Archivum has been awarded to more than 250 fellows, from 61 countries.

The list of awardees and their final reports submitted by former fellows are available here!

Research Theme in 2024/2025: The Language(s) of Freedom(s)

The criticism about infringements of academic freedom, or about the radicalization of autocratic powers cannot do without an understanding of the loaded vocabularies of freedoms in the past and present, for both societies and their elites. A complex rethinking and recontextualization of the thinkers of liberties, including from the Cold War era, must also be undertaken, together with the truth-seeking adventures and projects from the past.

We invite historians, researchers, political scientists, sociologists, and socially engaged artists to reflect on the past uses of the languages of (attaining) freedoms by taking cues from the Archivum's collections. The applicants are encouraged to reflect on the connections as well as on the differences between current times and the past by following some recommended sub-topics listed below.

  • the contribution to Eastern European intellectuals and dissenters to political philosophy in the past and present, the relevance and afterlife of their insights (clues: personal collections of Eastern European oppositionist and the RFE collections regarding their activities),
  • the comparative and different understandings of what constituted authorship and censorship,
  • independentist movements in the 1990s: the complex interplay of nationalism, decolonization, political freedoms and their impact nowadays (clues: curated collection Winning Freedom, Ukraine 1989–1991 and similar collections from the Soviet Red Archives, Samizdat Archives, Western Press Archives),
  • the representation and analysis of citizens’ aspirations in Communist regimes by internal and external observers; what was the understanding of political freedoms in relationship with other rights? (clue: the collection of audience and opinion surveys done at RFE/RL),
  • the fascination with the revolution and social movements among Western intellectuals and Communist Parties in non-Communist countries; self-reflexivity with regards the nature of real existing socialism (clue: Kevin Devlin collection),
  • the different meanings of freedom in the East and the West, and the transformation brought by the human rights paradigm,
  • the complex status of the alternative movements and artistic phenomena within centralized socialist systems (from gray zones to radical opposition); the transformative meaning they gave to an official lexicon through their concern with “peace,” “futures,” etc.,
  • the dysfunctional relationship between language and meaning and the ensuing concern for truth within different intellectual and scientific communities,
  • the language of transnational politics in the 1970s and the adaptation of local political visions to the language of Western liberatory international organizations (ILO, Helsinki institutions, Amnesty international), etc.
  • discursive strategies of Cold War observers, theorists, and activists,
  • the usage of the term totalitarianism, analytical term or discursive mechanism revived by the transnational activism and history writing in the 1970s and 1980s (a situation re-emerging now?),
  • the role of “liberatory” Western radios within the Cold War: political impact, protective strategies towards endangered oppositionist, documentation of issues then and now,
  • what have was or could be achieved by preserving records documenting rights abuses? A critical assessment of and ways of repurposing human rights archiving in times of democratic backsliding.

We recommend you refer to one of the topics in your application. Please also mention the specific collections you would like to consult. We also suggest possible collections to be investigated, such as Records of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Research Institute, Records of Index on Censorship, Records of the EU Monitoring and Advocacy Programs, Soviet Propaganda Film collection, Records related to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Records of the Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute, etc.

Application Procedure

Please submit the following to the Archivum (in one merged pdf file)

  • Application letter in English - specifying:

    • the expected period of stay and preferred dates - please note that 1) the Archivum does not host Grantees in August; 2) the Archivum’s Research Room is closed during the Christmas period, and 3) the research stay must end on the last day of the given academic year, on July 31.
    • how you learnt about the scholarship—through what courses, instructors, social media groups or pages, websites, academic platforms, public programs/projects etc.
  • Research description/plan in English: about 800 words, and should include the following:

    • introduction
    • presentation of the stage of research
    • literature on the subject
    • preliminary hypothesis
    • research questions
    • identification of possible documents in the Archivum's holdings
    • artists are expected to submit a portfolio, too. We recommend you refer to one of the topics in your application. Please also mention the specific collections you would like to consult.
  • Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
  • Proof of officially recognized advanced level English language exam (native speakers and those with qualification from an English-language institution/degree program are exempted)
  • Names of two referees with contact details. Letters of reference are not needed.

The Application letter, C.V., the research description/plan, the copy of a language exam certification and the Referees’ contact information should be sent by email to Katalin Gadoros at

Please only proceed with the application if you have read our Information about data processing and you accept the terms and conditions described!

For Applicants

We seek to promote exchanges among people with backgrounds in the arts, humanities, and social sciences in the way they think through and about archives while being concerned with current problems. From this point of view, the calls are not only addressed to scholars working specifically on Cold War topics, but to all those interested in theories of knowledge, who would use the Archivum's documents as props for larger reflections and activist concerns.

The Scholarship supports fellows at different stages of their research towards widely varied research aims ranging from articles, PhD theses through novels, films, exhibitions to plays. Research and publication topics cover an extensive area of history, literature, performing and fine arts, philosophy, and sociology, with a focus on media and objectivity, conceptualization of opposition, techno-science and mass communication, information gathering, production and dissemination, documentation and verification of human rights abuses, political "facts" and socio-economic issues among others.

Artists submitting proposals are kindly asked to frame their application as research-based projects, indicating the collections they will rely on. The artistic proposals will be assessed according to their merit, originality, timeliness, as well as their feasibility with regard to their reliance on available collections. The Archivum can only offer conditions for the realization of artistic research, not for production.

The Selection Committee evaluates proposals on the strength of the professional quality and novelty of the research proposal, its relevance to the chosen topic and the involvement of the Archivum's holdings in the research. In the case of equal scores those from V4 countries have an advantage.

Contact details

Academic coordinator: Ioana Macrea-Toma,

Administrative coordinator: Katalin Gádoros,

Visegrad Lecture Series

While working on their own subject, fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Archivum's researchers and to transform their archival investigation into a full research experience. At the end of their research stay, the fellows are invited to give a final presentation about their research findings at the Archivum and the ways in which the documents were relevant to their research. The presentations are organized within the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA lecture series and as such are open for the general public.

Grant award procedure

The grants administration is carried out by the the Archivum's Grants Administrators. The Call posted on the Blinken OSA Archivum and the IVF websites is updated each year in May. Applications are sent to the Archivum via e-mail, checked for formal critera (application letter, research proposal, CV and names of 2 referees, all in one merged pdf file), then receipt of arrival is sent back to the applicant via e-mail.

Members of the Jury are representatives of the International Visegrad Fund and the Archivum. After the decision is reached and approved by the Council of V4 Ambassadors, the proposals with the names of successful candidates are posted on the Archivum's website. At the same time the Grants Administrators contact each successful candidate via e-mail.

The two-month scholarship grant is 3,000 euro without financial reporting responsibility. Stipends for shorter research periods are pro-rated.

Grants are paid in two installments: 75 per cent prior to or right at the beginning of the grant period, 25 per cent after the Grantee has given his/her final presentation at the CEU and has submitted his/her final report and this has been approved by all members of the Jury. The Grantee has a maximum of ten working days to submit his/her final report to the Archivum after the end of the research period. The Jury has five working days to approve or ask for improvements. After the final report has been approved, the last 25 per cent of the grant is paid out to the fellow and the report is posted on the Archivum's website.

Information about data processing is available here.

The Archivum's collections, research suggestions

The archival collection and research papers of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute constitute the most comprehensive Cold War and post-Cold War archive about the problems of Communism and its aftermath in the early years of post-Socialist and post-Communist transition. The collection offers important tips both about facts as well as about their conceptualizations from 1949 to 1994. Scholars particularly interested in the former Soviet Union and in the aftermath of its dissolution can find relevant the rich collection of sub-fonds Soviet Red Archives, Samizdat Archives, and the Soviet Research Department of the RFE/RL RI (to be compared with the RFE/ RL Russian broadcast recordings). These sub-fonds and series allowed the radios to extract reliable data from the massive body of media produced by the Soviet republics; the Western Press Archives contain the Western representations about the phenomena in the communist bloc and beyond it, about the transition in the 1990s. This archival collection also holds several series of biographical files about major historical figures, dissidents, leaders of national minorities, and those persecuted by the political regimes of that time.

Besides its archival analogue collections, the Archivum can also offer access to unique, audiovisual materials related to documentary practices, a special collection of RFE (anti)propaganda books, and a growing collection on digital humanities, human rights, archival theory and philosophy.

We also suggest many other possible archival collections to be investigated, such as the records of Index on Censorship, the Soviet Propaganda Film collection, the records related to the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the documents of the Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute, the records of the Forced Migration projects at the Open Society Institute, the records of the International Human Rights Law Institute relating to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the records of the American Refugee Committee Balkan’s Programs, the Gary Filerman Collection on Hungarian Refugees from 1956, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many applications can I submit at a time?

A: You can submit only one application at a time.

Q: If my application has been rejected can I submit it again?

A: No, but you can submit a different one.

Q: How many times can I apply?

A: You can apply any number of times until your application is selected.

Q: Can I apply for the Visegrad Scholarship at OSA grant if I have already been a grantee in a different Visegrad grant category?

A: Yes, you can, but your previous grant must be properly closed.

Q: Is there a reserve list?

A: Yes, there is a reserve list. Those who were qualified for it will automatically be considered in the next two rounds of application with the same scores.

Q: Will I get notification about rejection?

A: Yes, you will get e-mail notification. However, the names of the successful candidates will be posted on the Archivum's web site.

Q: Can I find out about the details of my evaluation?

A: Yes, you can. You can submit a request to the Grants Administrator, who will send you your evaluation scores and notes.

Q: If I am not from a V4 country, does it matter which part of the world I come from?

A: No, it does not.

Q: If I study at or hold a degree from an English-language university, do I still need to submit a copy of an official certificate of an English language exam?

A: No, in this case you do not need to submit a certificate.

Q: Can I submit a new application if I was awarded a Visegrad Scholarship at OSA grant earlier?

A: No, unfortunately not. According to the Agreement between the International Visegrad Fund and the Blinken OSA Archivum, a previous Visegrad Scholarship grantee cannot submit a new proposal, so that the scheme can reach the widest possible audience.

Q: What level degree should applicants hold in order to be eligible?

A: A Master’s degree.

Q: Can I receive support if I have an employment contract?

A: You can receive support if you have an employment contract, unless this is a CEU contract. You cannot receive support and be an employee of the Central European University at the same time.

Q: What happens if I use English regularly in lectures, publications in my professional environment, but do not hold an officially recognized language certificate?

A: Please contact the Administrative Coordinator in such a case.