About Us

#beacritic with LJMU, Arts Council England and The Double Negative Magazine


Contemporary, independent arts and culture criticism since 2011: platforming writers and artists from the North of England.

We are a Liverpool-based magazine (online and occasional print) featuring critical analysis, interviews, reviews, essays, experimental texts and commentary on under-the-radar culture. 

Our mission: to hold a mirror up to the UK contemporary arts scene – in particular the North-West and North of England – uncovering and analysing the talent based here. We have a particular investment in encouraging and developing the next generation of art critics. We believe it is incredibly important to offer platforms for fearless, well-researched and balanced criticism, which represents a wide range of voices and stories.

The Founding Fathers

The Double Negative was conceived and co-founded in a post-Capital of Culture Liverpool, UK, in December 2011, by Mike Pinnington and Laura Robertson. We pooled our experience in DIY/artist-led spaces and journalism with a burning desire to kickstart something superb. Liverpool, it seemed, had attained a level of creative maturity – across various disciplines – that meant its output deserved increased levels of comment and criticism. Indeed, it needed those things. The Double Negative was a reaction: a means of expressing and analysing what we love (and what we think could be better). We highlight the artists, projects and venues that fly under the radar in Liverpool, the North of England and the rest of the UK.

Now, we’ve grown our ranks to over 500 contributors based all over the UK and in far-flung spots across the world, and our TDN army write for the world’s top arts and culture publications – including ArtReview, Frieze, Art Monthly, The Art Newspaper, a-n, VICE, Art World, Dazed, the Guardian, the Independent, Aesthetica Magazine, Corridor 8, Creative Tourist, Garageland, Shanghai International, Ocula, Tate Online and more.

However, our aim is the same: to tell the stories that matter most to us.


Mike Pinnington (TDN co-founder, full-time editor) is a writer based in Liverpool, and has been published most recently by Art Review, Ocula and byNWR. From 2013-2018 he held the role of Content Editor at Tate Liverpool, working with the exhibitions and communications teams to deliver the galleries’ interpretation, web content, and in-house zine, Compass.


Laura Robertson (TDN co-founder, contributing editor) is a writer and critic based in Liverpool. Her work has been published in Frieze, Elephant, Hyperallergic, Art Monthly, ArtReview and a-n amongst others; is a critical writer-in-residence at Open Eye Gallery; and graduate of the 2018-20 MA Writing cohort at the Royal College of Art. Trustee and former director of The Royal Standard Gallery & Studios.


Branding, visual concept and design

The Double Negative visual concept — from colour to layout to logo — was brought to reality in a collaboration with two design gurus: John Wai and Mike Carney. We are grateful for their continued support, ideas and friendship.

Past Editorial Assistants

ARTS: Journalism NCTJ Diploma graduate Vanessa Wheeler

ARTS: Artist and History of Art postgraduate (University of Manchester) Heather Garner

DESIGN: Graphic Arts (Leeds) graduates Matthew Buckton and Sam Garroch (Culture Diary)

Past Guest Editors

ARTS: John Moores Critic Award Winner and freelance writer Linda Pittwood (Shanghai International, Aesthetica Magazine)

MUSIC: Musician and journalist David Tate (Line Of Best Fit, Clash Magazine, Bido Lito)

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