Bridport Arts Centre presents photographs by Tish Murtha from 9th September.

This series of photographs shot by Tish Murtha over a few years starting in 1979, were first exhibited in 1981. They capture the hardship that both she and the North East of England suffered during the Thatcher era and the people in the images were her family, friends and local community.

In the West End of Newcastle Tish saw the dereliction of young lives amid the dereliction of an area with more than double the unemployment rate of the city as a whole. She had first hand experience of what it was like to be young and on the dole, and so she wanted to try to help others who saw no real future for themselves by highlighting the issue.

A newspaper review of Youth Unemployment including an interview with Tish regarding her subject matter was read aloud for debate in the House of Commons in 1981.

‘Looking back all these years later, what hits me above all else is that my mam had hope. She hoped by showing the reality of these kids lives, and the waste and squandering of their potential, that she could somehow bring about a change.’ Ella Murtha


In todays society of education cuts, zero hours contracts, public service cuts and the gaping gap between billionaire presidents and the homeless these photos are a reminder of the cruelty and legacy of Tory neo-liberal capitalism.




In Praise of Dialectics


Today, injustice goes with a certain stride,

The oppressors move in for ten thousand years.
Force sounds certain: it will stay the way it is.
No voice resounds except the voice of the rulers

And on the markets, exploitation says it out loud: 
I am only just beginning.

But of the oppressed, many now say:
What we want will never happen

Whoever is still alive must never say ‘never’!
Certainty is never certain.
It will not stay the way it is.

When the rulers have already spoken
Then the ruled will start to speak.
Who dares say ‘never’?

Who’s to blame if oppression remains? We are.
Who can break its thrall? We can.

Whoever has been beaten down must rise to his feet!
Whoever is lost must fight back!
Whoever has recognized his condition – how can anyone stop him?
Because the vanquished of today will be tomorrow’s victors
And never will become: already today!


Bertolt Brecht