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

‘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