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

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

Thinking about Time


Nicole and I have been collecting responses to a series of questions linked to our Ten themes via physical postcards and online questionnaires.

As well as developing our own responses to the themes and our research, we are creating 10 joint pieces (you can see sketches for our piece about confidence here).

This week, I've been coming up with some text inspired by the theme of TIME and the answers to our questions. Below is my first attempt. It looks like a poem, but isn't really meant to be - I'm thinking about it more as an ordered collection of statements/thoughts. I'm looking forward to seeing what Nicole does with it!

Cycling the ‘Northern Belt’ | Thursday 17th September: Super Slow Way, Pennine Lancashire


I visit Super Slow Way on the day their website goes live and their first press release goes out. It’s a great contrast to Heart of Glass and LeftCoast who are mid delivery. Here it is all new – a series of new commissions announced, and community partnerships starting to come together. I spend the morning with Programme Manager Katy May, and Chrissie Tiller who is visiting to start talks about a CPD programme across the North West CPP projects. We walk along the canal in the sunshine, then have lunch in Towneley Park (in the midst of a funeral director photo shoot...). We discuss the programme; the plans for CPD; the delicate balancing act of bringing in artists from outside of the area and developing artists and arts organisations based locally; the role of the ‘broker’ – between artist, community, organisation; the nature and importance of instinct. We joke that this doesn’t feel like work, and at the same time note how valuable time out to reflect and explore is.

There is never enough



When someone says, 'Can I have a minute,' they are not talking about sixty seconds. There are not sixty of those kinds of minutes in an hour.

They say it flies when you're having fun. But the same goes for having a deadline.

Put a timer on and suddenly everything's pressurised. Each shudder of a clock's hand, each grain of sand marks another loss.

We are anticipating the end – of the sand, the day, the week, the summer, the financial year, the funding period, our careers.

Top creative writing tip: is your story lacking pace? Try adding a ticking clock.

We only have so much of it.

Balance – this is what we are all aiming for, between our work, our personal lives, our own small and bigger pictures. We have to work out how much to allocate to what. It is pretty much impossible to get it right.

Negative thinking isn't going to help.

The sand in the timer leaves a residue as it falls – a light dusting of grains on the curve of the glass. Free time? Time left over? Time unspent?

It never stops.

'Excuse me, do you have the time?' For what?

Once upon a time, a woman tried to write about time in fifteen minutes. She couldn't stop looking at the falling yellow sand of her egg timer. It made it hard to concentrate. She wrote with her heart up in her throat and her breath shallow in her chest.

It is almost done.

She is out of time.


Written in 15 minutes (exactly!) in response to numerous responses to the question 'Life has many burdens and obstacles. What prevents you from being more creative?' at the CPP Conference in Stoke.