'Tracing Topographies: Revisiting the Concentration Camps Seventy Years after Liberation', 6-8 January 2015

January 2015 is an important time of reflection, commemoration and observance; the 27th marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the biggest concentration and extermination camp ever created. What better way to start this month, then, than with a conference organised by Jo Pettitt and Vered Weiss from The University of Kent entitled 'Tracing Topographies: Revisiting the Concentration Camps Seventy Years after Liberation.'
The conference was held in London's Jewish Museum. The three-day event included a wide variety of panels on subjects such as the Holocaust in art, literature and film; so-called 'Holocaust tourism; spatial and geographic topographies of the camps; and more. The truly global reach of Holocaust studies was clear to see from the number of countries represented by those in attendance. Speakers and participants came from as far as Israel, Australia and America to attend panels and meet those of similar research interests. Keynote speeches were delivered by Dr. Maurizio Cinquegrani, of The University of Kent, Professor Sue Vice from The University of Sheffield and Dr. Nikolaus Wachsmann, of Birkbeck College.

This was the first research conference I had attended and, I am pleased to say, also the first time I presented my own research, on the topic of visitors' photography at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. The feedback I received was extremely positive and has confirmed my interest in pursuing this line of research for my Master's thesis. I am pleased to have met so many interesting people at the conference, and it is heartening to see how many different people from all over the world are dedicated to the study of the Holocaust and its impact and relevance in our society.

My thanks and congratulations go to both Jo Pettitt and Vered Weiss for organising such a fantastic conference, and to the Jewish Museum for hosting us. It has certainly provided a thought-provoking and encouraging way to begin 2015, a year of such importance in both our history and collective memory.