The Forgotten Youth Of Newcastle 1980

Throughout the 1980s, photographer Tish Murtha captured an intimate view of life in struggle. Recently published, it acts as a powerful document of what it was like in the North East.


Tish Murtha captured the social landscape of Newcastle with a level of sincerity that is rarely seen. With such honesty and good faith from those who she chose to capture, she was able to document the city’s rapid increase in youth unemployment from the inside.

First exhibited in 1981, ‘Youth Unemployment’ later became the subject of debate in the House of Commons, a testament to how pertinent the work was at that time.



“She invested her time building relationships of trust, which allowed her access to different parts of the communities that she photographed. Her approach was informal, generating an understanding of what she was doing by giving copies of her photos to the people in them.”


One element which really stands out in the Youth Unemployment series is how resourceful, clever and resilient the subjects in her photographs were to the situation they had found themselves in.


Tish believed that photography could be used as a tool for change and to improve the lives of the communities whom she cared for. Sadly passing in 2013, after forty years the photographic series has finally been published by Bluecoat Press.

SourceTish Murtha