A Woman's Work | The Refuge, Manchester.

8th March – 30th June, 2022

A Woman’s Work is a free exhibition and celebration of 20th century female documentary photography curated by British Culture Archive. The exhibition is on display at The Refuge Bar, Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, Manchester between 8th March – 30th June, 2022.

Tish Murtha

Part one of A Woman’s Work features iconic social documentary photography from Tish Murtha (14th March 1956 – 13th March 2013) who was one of the most pre-eminent British documentary photographers of the post-war era.

Tish was known for documenting social change and everyday life, with a large body of her work focusing on her home community of Elswick in Newcastle’s West End. 

Glenn on the wall by Tish Murtha
Glenn on the Wall. From the series Elswick Kids (1978).

Photo Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, all rights reserved.

Newcastle's West End

The third of ten children, Tish Murtha grew up in the West End of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Whilst studying at Newcastle College of Higher Education her lecturer persuaded her to study documentary photography at Newport College of Art, which was newly set up by Magnum photographer David Hurn.

When asked in her interview by Hurn what she wanted to photograph she said “I want to take pictures of policemen kicking children”. Hurn said it was the shortest interview he’d ever done because he knew exactly what she meant and knew she was going to be a social photographer.

Graduating in 1978 Tish returned to Newcastle and began to document the daily lives of the people in her home community of Elswick, a marginalised area hit hard by the decline of Tyneside’s once thriving shipbuilding industry.

This is the first time Tish Murtha’s work has been exhibited in Manchester. The images on display are some of the most powerful images of British social photography of the last 50 years.

Karen on an Overturned chair by TIsh Murtha
Karen on an overturned chair.

Photo Tish Murtha © Ella Murtha, all rights reserved.

Anne Worthington

Also on display is the work of photographer Anne Worthington.

Anne produced an incredible body of work documenting the inner city communities of East Manchester in the early 2000s before the regeneration of the area. 

Walkway kids. Grey Mare Lane, Beswick, 2001.
Walkway kids. Grey Mare Lane, Beswick, 2001.

Photo © Anne Worthington, all rights reserved.

East Manchester

The photographs show the inner city communities of Beswick, Clayton and Openshaw – areas of East Manchester that had fallen into decline. They capture the last days of these industrial areas, before and during the demolition that made way for new housing and businesses. Anne focused on the daily lives of people who lived there, and how they worked to keep their community together when so many institutions had fallen away.

Photo of Clayton, Manchester, 2000.
Clayton, Manchester, 2000.

Photo © Anne Worthington, all rights reserved.
A Woman's Work Exhibition Poster. Karen on an overturned chair by Tish Murtha.

For all press enquiries please email contact@britishculturearchive.co.uk

Exhibition | A Woman’s Work
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