More Than a Hundred Stories

We are two artists, interested in how art can animate, challenge and create communities. We’ve been commissioned by Creative People and Places to creatively map and respond to its achievements, the problems it faces, and the questions it has generated.

We are interested in the programme’s ambition to change how art is commissioned and experienced and will be exploring how and to what extent this ambition has been realised across all 21 projects.

We will be posting creative responses to conversations, observations and research throughout the project and will share our final work with you in autumn 2016. Do join us and follow our creative journey on this blog.

You can find out more about our work at: and

Sarah Butler and Nicole Mollett

Living Room


Nicole and I have been creating new pieces of work based around our ten themes and inspired by our visits, conversations and reading about the CPP programme.

Below is one new piece, inspired by stories I was told about Heart Of Glass's In My Place project, where local people could apply to have the Liverpool Philharmonic play in their home.

The Mapping Progress


Nicole has been gathering information about all 21 CPP projects to mark onto her big map of England. Here is a close up section of the drawing in progress.

Detail of CPP Map - leftcoast & heart of Glass

Meeting the People - a day with Appetite


On Wednesday 22nd June Nicole Mollett got a lift with Karl from West Bromwich to Stoke to meet some of the people who are involved in the Appetite programme. Main image taken inside the Spode factory, Stoke.

INside Spode Factory

Passion and Time in the Creative Black Country


On Tuesday 21 June, Sarah and Nicole visited Creative Black Country. Below is a conversation exploring their responses to the day. Main image taken from the 'Desi Pubs' project, stain glass by artist Steven Cartwright.

Against Racism stain glass - Desi pubs project

Opening up the discussion about Public Art in Peterborough


On June 9th Nicole Mollett visited Peterborough Presents to attend a project update meeting concerning ‘Park Tales’, an outdoor family festival happening in August 2016 which will include five new contemporary artists’ commissions.

An artist called Lynda Phelps talking

Asking Why – visiting East Durham Creates, Friday 6th May


Discussing my visit on the phone, a couple of months ago, Nikki and I decided we would focus on the theme of partnership. The consortia behind East Durham Creates is unique in that it is made up of a community trust – whose stated aim is to alleviate the poverty and problems which have resulted from the pit-closures in the area; a museum, which is not physically in the region covered by the CPP funding; and an arts producing organisation which started in Newcastle but is now based in London. The partnership and the programme have had a long and difficult road to get to where they are now: Nikki grinning as she drives me from the station in Seaham to their office in Peterlee, telling me how excited she is about the programme and its potential to effect real change locally; and later, Malcolm, Chief Executive of East Durham Trust, saying that he has more faith and confidence in the power and importance of the arts now than he did when they were writing the funding bid.

Thunderbolts and Decison Making in Corby


On June 7th 2016 Nicole Mollett visited the Made in Corby community decision panel meeting. The following day she wrote a reflection on the visit, focusing on the themes of language and decision making.


‘We are not a wasteland’ – visiting bait , 5th May 2016


I started my Northeast ‘tour’ (not on my bike this time!) visiting bait in South East Northumberland. We started off at their base at Woodhorn Museum, a fabulous complex of old colliery buildings plus a new building housing the region’s archive and a new exhibition, Common Ground, commissioned by bait, which brought together local groups with professional artists to create new work. I was struck by the variety and depth of the work, and particularly interested in how artists Robert Parkinson and Aaron Guy had created contemporary text and image pieces documenting their process working in Guide Post social club which stood up strongly in a gallery context and gave a glimpse of process-based work in a way I haven’t seen before.


The Money Bootcamp


On the 19th March 2016 Nicole Mollett attended the ‘Money Bootcamp’ in Ely organised by Market Place and supported by Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy.

I want to make Books exciting as Birthdays!

‘We’re Always Learning’ – visiting The Cultural Spring, 9th May 2016


Early Monday morning, I arrived at The Customs House in South Shields to see a huge ferry making its ponderous way towards the sea, a line of passengers along the deck soaking up the morning sunshine. The day started with a team meeting – a run through of projects and opportunities, and a space for everyone to share their work and ideas – then brief one-to-one chats with Rob (PR and Marketing), David (Communications and project management) and Michael (community engagement).

I learnt about The Cultural Spring’s workshop programme: a regular and extensive set of workshops, planned in conversation with local communities, and delivered across ten wards in Sunderland and South Tyneside. The Your Art funding scheme: which allows local groups to apply for small amounts of money to make creative things happen, with funding decisions made by a panel of community representatives. And their commissioning programme: regular large scale commissions throughout the year, and smaller R&D commissions, which are supported with the ambition that they will grow and develop.

Chewing gum art