Born 1955 in Ashington Northumberland England

On seeing an exhibition of paintings in 1977 by 'The Ashington Group' - 'The Pitmen Painters'- a group of Ashington men brought together in 1934 by the Workers’ Educational Association for Art Appreciation classes, Mik Critchlow realised the value of art as a social document, the visual representation of everyday life by one’s own experiences and knowledge.

In the same year, after several years as a merchant seaman, he returned to study photography & graphic design in his native Northumberland, whilst in his first year at college he received a commission by MidNAG (Mid Northumberland Art Group) to produce an exhibition documenting his home town of Ashington - Once reputed to be the largest coal mining village in the World.

The son of a miner, he worked within the community with a deep-rooted empathy for his subjects, documenting the area and its people during a rapid period of social and environmental change.

Between 1979 and 1983 Mik won five arts production awards from Northern Arts to continue a series of long term photography projects in the North East of England including 'Pitheads' which examined the working environment of colliery workers, 'Whippet's' which explored dog racing culture in South East Northumberland & 'Seacoalers', which documented the lifestyle of families working on the beaches of Lynemouth, Northumberland.

Throughout the late 1970s, the 80s and the early to mid 90s, Mik continued to work as a social documentary photographer.

'Filey - North Yorkshire 1980'

Since the Mid 90's Mik has worked mainly for trade unions and development agencies, supplemented by teaching work within colleges & schools, on Photographer-in-Residence placements through Northern Arts/Arts Council England. He has also spent time as an art tutor for the Workers Educational Association teaching photography and darkroom skills to groups of unemployed adults in the North East of England


1990 - Shortlisted finalist for the W.Eugene Smith Memorial Award Grant for Humanistic Photography - International Center for Photography, New York USA

1991 - One of twelve British Artists selected by Arts Council England for their Pilot Programme
'Artists In Education' - DeMontfort University - Leicester.

Mik lives in Northumberland has two daughters and two grandchildren.


1987-2013: Various Schools/Art Centre Residencies Including:

Durham County Council Arts Libraries Museums

'Silloth Residency 1992 -  Raymond Moore Photo Trail'

Silloth On Solway Middle School Cumbria - Photographer In Residence

Coquet High School Amble - Photographer In Residence

Queens Hall Arts Centre Hexham-Documentary Photography

Riverbank Special School

Netherton Park Social Services Assessment Centre

Alexandra County First School

Coates Endowed Middle School Ponteland Northumberland

Northumberland Libraries-Alnwick & Berwick Upon Tweed-’Tomorrows History’

Alnwick Playhouse Darkrooms

Wansbeck Community Initiative Centre

Northumbria Probation Service

Saint Benet Biscop High School-Bedlington

Northumberland College

Helix Arts Newcastle - ISSP Northumberland 'My Take'


1979 "Ashington A Personal View"
Wansbeck Square Gallery - Ashington

1980 "Northern Arts Awards Show"
Spectro Gallery - Newcastle Upon Tyne

1981 "Faces & Places"
Wansbeck Square Gallery - Ashington

1981 "Riverbank School"
Wansbeck Square Gallery - Ashington

1982 "The Third Brunel Photo Show"
Brunel University -London
+ National Touring Show

1982 "Work in Progress"
Woodhorn Church Gallery

1984 "Photographers in Support of the Miners"
Untitled Gallery - Sheffield
Royal Festival Hall - London
Stills Gallery - Edinburgh

1987 "Ashington A Coal Mining Town"
Side Gallery - Newcastle Upon Tyne
+ Regional Touring Side Shows

1988 "Seamen - The Ferries Dispute"
Side Gallery - Newcastle Upon Tyne
+ Regional Touring Side Shows

1990 "Nicaragua Libre"
Side Gallery - Newcastle upon Tyne

1990 "Index Photographers"
Galerie 4 - Cheb - Czech Republic

1993 Darlington Art Gallery

1993 "Cricket - More Than A Game"
DLI Museum / Durham Art Gallery
MCC Museum - Lords Cricket Ground - London
Grey Art Gallery - Hartlepool
The Bowes Museum - Barnard Castle

1994 "Unclear Families"
Crook Civic Centre - County Durham
Side Gallery - Newcastle
Galerie 4 - Cheb - Czech Republic
Lucioles - France
Ruhrland Museum - Germany

1994 "Seafarers"
Side Gallery - Newcastle Upon Tyne
+ Touring Side Shows

2001 'Car Crazy'
Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle Upon Tyne

2004 'Photography & Film'
Side Gallery Newcastle Upon Tyne

2009 'Northern Spirit'
Laing Art Gallery - Newcastle Upon Tyne
Work selected for Permanent Collection/Interactive Display
300 years of Art from the North East of England.


Oliver Kilbourne & Jack Harrison

The Ashington Group Hut 1982



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