School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Elise Bath

Doctoral Student in German Studies


Beate Müller and Rhiannon Mason

Photographs in Holocaust Exhibitions: Contexts and Functions

This PhD project builds upon existing literature discussing the visual representation of the holocaust by investigating the use of photographs in Holocaust exhibitions. Photography’s perceived transparency combines with the institutional authority of the museum to create a powerful mode of representation used to create a particular iconography of the Holocaust, tailored to a specific narrative of the events. Institutions use photographs as tools to encourage certain individual and collective responses such as emotional reactions, the acquisition of factual knowledge, and the reinforcing of a normative narrative.

The overuse of iconic images and an apparent reluctance to exhibit more incongruous, unfamiliar photographs seems to indicate that the main use of images in the display context is to establish and then maintain a particular narrative of the Holocaust.

By analysing exhibitions at case studies in the UK and Germany, I hope to pose questions about the nature of presentation of photographs in Holocaust exhibitions, acknowledge the multiple narratives within the exhibition space, and engage with the ways in which photographs inform and influence these narratives.

Research Interests

Holocaust narratives; Gender; Feminist theory


  • AHRC PhD Studentship Award (2014-2017)
  • MLitt Studentship Award (2013-2014)

Academic Background

  • MLitt in German Studies
  • MA in Museum Studies at Newcastle University (Merit) 2011
  • BA in German Studies at Newcastle University (First Class Honours) 2008