Sylvia Necker

urban research &
modern history :::  
exhibits & installations :::
radio & sound art :::

minden :::
frankfurt/main :::
hamburg :::


short bio

Dr Sylvia Necker is historian, curator and sound artist.

Educated at the University of Hamburg (M.A. German Modern History 2006), she wrote her PhD thesis on Nazi Architecture in Hamburg and the involvement of architects as experts in the NS regime (2007-2010). She taught at the University of Kiel (2011 to 2014) and, from 2008, at different German and Austrian universities like Hamburg, Hannover, Kiel, Linz, and Munich, teaching modules on Modern German history, Jewish history, the history of urban planning, and the history of architecture. 

In 2013, she was part of a research project on Public Spaces in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic in comparative perspective at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS) in Erkner near Berlin. In 2014, she was appointed by the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich as research associate and curator. In January 2018 (until July 2019), Necker took up her role as research fellow with the AHRC project “Photography as Political Practice in National Socialism” at the History Department of the University of Nottingham (for further details see UoN project website).

As part of the AHRC project she currently prepares a monograph on “German-Jewish photographs and the narration of identities from imperial Germany to the post-war years”, based on the collections of Jewish Museums in Berlin, Frankfurt/Main and Vienna, as well as collections of German City Museums and at USHMM in Washington and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The saturation of the public sphere with officially produced images posed particular challenges for people considered ‘undesirables’ by the regime, most notably Jews. I ask how they responded to this challenge: did they reject the medium of photography altogether, or did they mobilise older traditions of conspicuously private and domestic photography to create oppositional visual narratives?

In the past years her research focuses on the history of National Socialism and German-Jewish History, but she also works on public spaces, the history of architecture and urban planning in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2012, she published “Konstanty Gutschow (1902-1978). Modernist thought and the utopia of a National Socialist ‘Volksgemeinschaft’.” That same year, she also curated an exhibition at the City Museum in Linz entitled, “‘Hitlerbauten’ in Linz: Wohnsiedlungen zwischen Alltag und Geschichte. 1938 bis 2012” about the National Socialist public housing programme in Upper Austria.

Since August 2019 Sylvia Necker was appointed as new director of the Museum of Prussia in Minden (LWL-Preussenmuseum Minden). She is also directing the Information Centre at the Kaiser Wilhelm Monument in Porta Westfalica.