On the Waterfront 43

20 April 2023 - 14:52

On the Waterfront is the semi-annual magazine of the IISH. This is issue 43 (2023)

On the Waterfront : newsletter from the Friends of the IISH
Authors: Aad Blok
Place of publication: Amsterdam
Year: 2023 / Issue: 43 / Format: 16 pp.

Including an interview with Jack Hofman

After two years of pandemic and lockdowns, the Friends were finally able to meet on 26 June of last year. Our staff was happy to be able to present a fine selection of acquisitions once again. Some of these acquisitions were brand new, while another was the result of a longer-term project to trace which books actually belong to the famous Lavrov collection. In this process, Marja Musson and Cornelia Dickhoff, with help from two interns, were able to identify how many items from the original private library were still present in the iish collection, and which had disappeared as result of the wartime removal by the Nazis of large swaths of the iish collections. The story of the reconstruction of the Lavrov library is thereby yet another contribution to writing the history of the Institute.

Another form of history writing appears in this issue in the interview with Jack Hofman, who retired in December last year, after working at the various collection departments over his forty years of employment at the Institute. Jack offers welcome insights into how much has changed at the Institute over these years, with several ruptures in the organization of collections, as well as in the outside world, in addition to those in his personal life.

Recent history was also the topic of the presentation that Thijs van Leeuwen organized on the Open Archief project, where artists reuse parts of the collection creatively, as an alternative to traditional use of archive materials. Femke Dekker showed how the recent history of the Amsterdam movement of squatters and activists movement inspired her to explore the reciprocal relationship between media and activism by creating four radio broadcasts, in which she reflected inter alia on the positions of the archivist as activist and the artist and activist as archivist. This relates directly to the reorientation taking place within the world of archivists, where diversity and inclusivity are just as relevant as in the ‘real world.’ Apart from history, current affairs obviously remain a significant area of substantial interest for the organization. Having survived the lock-downs relatively well, the iish management has convinced the knaw to increase the fixed funding of the iish to cover the cost of innovation of the collection and data department and its structural embedding. Together with temporary extra funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for improving public services to better match citizens' expectations, this will offer our staff urgently needed means to continue to preserve the continuously expanding collections and make them available to everybody, including the Friends.


On the Waterfront 43