Mik began photographing Ashington in 1977, after seeing an exhibition by the Ashington Group of artists (also known as the Pitman Painters). It was the honesty with which they recorded their lives, painting the ordinary, the mundane, the everyday that inspired Mik.
Museums Northumberland bait, working with Andrea Hawkins, has commissioned Mik as an artist in residence for two projects in South East Northumberland.
‘The Share’ explored the role of Guide Post Working Men’s Club and aimed to put the club back at the heart of the community as a cultural and social hub through arts and creative activities. Mik spent considerable time in the club building relationships, getting to know people and capturing everyday life. Mik also supported club members to develop their own photography skills in a series of workshops.
‘Hirst 2018’ saw Mik as an artist in residence for an 18-month project in the Hirst area of Ashington. Mik often describes himself as ‘one of the tribe’ and with deep roots in the area it gave him unique access and trust within the community. The extraordinary photos Mik captures can only happen with the participation of local people. The projects helped to bring the communities together, shining a light on the people and places often ignored or forgotten.
You can see Mik Critchlow: Coal Town, an exhibition featuring over 100 of Mik’s photographs at Woodhorn Museum, until Sunday 6th March 2022.