More Than 100 Stories is a commission led by artists Sarah Butler and Nicole Mollet that explores and creatively maps the Creative People and Places programme.

Cycling the ‘Northern Belt’ | A note on cycling and thinking:


I chose to cycle along this northern belt of CPP projects because I wanted the opportunity to see and experience and reflect upon the landscapes and specific localities of each project, and get a sense of what lies between, how one place connects to another. I cycled many canal paths and disused railways – peaceful, rural-feeling spaces away from the hustle and aggression of A-roads and hurrying traffic. And yet, historically, these were transport links supporting huge industries, now gone. This relationship between rural/green/peace/(wealth?) and urban/industrial/grey/(deprivation?) was maybe the most striking aspect of the journey.

Cycling between places, rather than taking the train, or driving, also inevitably made me think about time – a theme that comes up again and again in conversations about CPP. It felt fitting to end this week with Super Slow Way, whose ethos is about slow time, slow art, creating moments of stillness and giving projects time to breathe and develop, with the canal at the heart of the creative programme. In the conversation with Chrissie Tiller and Heather Morrison, Laurie Peake talked about a lack of public awareness about what goes into an art work: the time, the physical and emotional effort and the pain. I’m not suggesting my bike trip was an art work, but it did involve an investment of time, physical and emotional effort and pain (!). It made me think about persistence, about keeping going when it is difficult, because you know where you want to get to. It made me think about obstacles, about environments and how they affect you – a gravel path is much slower to travel along than smooth tarmac; a head wind slows you down and makes you feel you’ll never get to where you’re going. It made me think about joy – the sun on your face; a bird flitting across the water; the sound of the wind amongst the trees.

For our commission, Nicole and I are planning to identify 8-10 themes that sit across the CPP Programme and make work around each theme. I started off on my journey thinking that perhaps I knew the themes we might work with, but these visits have added some other words to my list, namely: Confidence; Leadership; Brokering; Local. I am sure there will be more!

Sarah Butler