Department of History

Understanding and Improving Public Engagement with Holocaust Photography

Black and white photograph of a family gathered for a photo. Younger children are piggy backing, or on the shoulders of taller children and adults. They're wearing summer shorts in a garden.

Through whose eyes are we seeing the past? 

Professor Maiken Umbach in the Department of History has been leading a multidisciplinary project exploring the use of photography in shaping how we remember the holocaust. 

Understanding and Improving Public Engagement with Holocaust Photography

The project examines visitor engagement with an interactive, multimodal exhibition, The Eye as Witness, exploring the role of photography in mediating the public understanding of the Holocaust. It builds on the success of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project Photography as Political Practice in National Socialism (2018-21), which explored how photography, which was widely used in Nazi propaganda, has distorted the ways we perceive victims of the Holocaust today. The project also unearthed how people persecuted by the Nazi regime deployed photography to record counter-narratives, thus creating a rich visual resource, which is, however, largely unknown to modern audiences.

These insights have informed a national touring exhibition of The Eye as Witness: Recording the Holocaust, in partnership with the National Holocaust Museum and Centre, allowing us to test new methods for exhibiting these sources both online and in a museum or gallery setting. The project has also produced a free online short course for the platform FutureLearn - Photographing the Holocaust.

Read more about Maiken's ambitious project in Nottingham Vision magazine

About Maiken Umbach

Maiken is a Professor of Modern History, with a passionate belief in combining cutting-edge historical work with interventions that make 'real life' differences in the world. She specialises in European cultural histories.

Maiken is the lead researcher on this project which brings together experts in a range of fields. Find out more about the project background and team.

Posted on Thursday 21st October 2021

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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