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

What would you say if the Arts Council wasn't listening?


She had never been much good at speaking her mind.

It’s because you’re a woman, her friend Marge said – we’re trained to please.

It’s because you care about other people, her friend Sally said – you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, I think that’s nice.

You need to get better at it, her friend Helen said – else you’ll spend your whole life compromising.

She didn’t tell any of them about the planes – how she’d drive out after work sometimes, park under the oak tree, climb over the locked gate and walk into the furrowed field, so she could stand right below the path of the planes as they lifted their huge bulks into the sky.

She didn’t tell them how the roar of the engines drowned out everything, so that even she couldn’t hear herself shouting what she really wanted to say.


It’s rare you get the same answer twice



What would you like to see happening here?
Storytelling. Dancing. Fireworks. Feasts.

What would you like to see happening here? We’ve limited money and a handful of years.
Skateboarding. Flame-throwing. Concert-going. Change.

What would you like to see happening here? We’ve a skeleton staff and reports to be written.
Gardening. Oil painting. Sky-gazing. Swing.

What would you like to see happening here? We can do as we please if we all chip in.
Circus skills. Poetry. Dress-making. Dreams.

The Non-Engagers



They live at the edges of our vision, vanish when we turn to look. Though we are diligent in our searching and meticulous in our research, they keep slipping into the shadows. We are not who you think we are, one told me once; I asked him, politely, to explain, but he would not.

It is rumoured that the taxi drivers might know how to find them, the hairdressers too. So we are heading for the laybys, the train stations, the nightclubs, and all those glass-fronted shops full of mirrors and blades.


A Manifesto


Over the next year or so, we will be exploring the Creative People and Places programme and finding ways to tell some of its many stories.

Through visits, conversations and observation we will look for key themes which connect the 21 projects together.  Our ambition is to create a digital collection of stories and images which explore and reflect on these themes in an accessible, thought-provoking and engaging way.

Below is our manifesto, outlining our approach to the commission: