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In the twentieth century some states attempted to destroy the lives of religious ‘others’. But a paradoxical thing happened – testimonies, personal items, community photographs and the ephemera of religious life were preserved by the very state institutions whose role it was to delete them.

The Hidden Galleries project, funded by the European Research Council, uncovers that which was hidden twice over – first by the religious groups who were forced ‘underground’, and second, by the secret police who found them and enclosed them in their archives. The project re-examines and re-contextualises the holdings of secret police archives in Romania, the Republic of Moldova and Hungary.

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By approaching religion as a creative underground space.

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By conducting ethnography in the archives.

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By reconnecting communities with lost cultural patrimony.

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By engaging publics through participatory exhibitions in questions of openness, secrecy and invisibility in contemporary society.

The project website, as well as presenting the activities and publications of the project team, hosts a Digital Archive with sample materials held in various secret police archival repositories. The website will also host an Online Exhibition of the project’s findings.

Enter Digital Archive

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We have to go back deep into darkest chapters of the Stalinist past to find repression of this magnitude! https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/4137/2021/en/

An unexpected example o how sacred objects end up in police archives, and what should happen to them when rediscovered https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-57306362