SAME/Difference is a creative writing and photography project devised by Quotidian artists Maria McManus, Viviana Fiorentino, Nandi Jola and Bernarde Lynn. This project has been implemented for the first time, in Portadown supported by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council  through Peace IV funds.

The project examines the concept of identity, belonging, home, diversity and peace-building, through creative writing and expressive abilities and explores the lived – experience of migration.  We have been keen to include people from minority ethnic groups whose first language is other than English and that our experienced team of artists supported the group to make creative inquiry  of both the challenges and enriching perspective of life in a ‘new ground’ and the lived-experience of  ‘home’.

Supported by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council through Peace IV funds.

Anesu Mtowa

It is important to me to read the works of black women. Whether it is academic, fictional  or poetic, their words speak to me.

Aysel Isofova

This angel is from my childhood, I was thirteen. I keep the angel with me everywhere. The ladybird is a present from my friend she bought it on her holiday. Presents from my friends are very important as they are my dear friends.

Ciaran Moore

I am holding a pen with three bells on the top. The striped pattern of the pen is that of the cliched candy-cane sweet. It is a Christmas pen and Christmas is the operative word here. I love Christmas; I am a Christmasphile. I believe I am of a cheery disposition and have a positive outlook on life. The bells go ting-a-ling-ling just like the happy thoughts in my head.


I have my own house

My own personal space

Buried in my books

Buried in my books.


A memory belongs in a round birds nest of dark brown spikey twigs.  Inside filling the nest is a tablet screen where I recall a memory and it is played.  I have a memory nest which is complete, which is entitled “Living Memory Up Until I Went To University.”  Right now I am creating video footage of my new Nest called “Life in Portadown In My Own House”

Nest One “living….university.”:

Walking onto the door steps I hear them thud under my boots.  Through the glass panels of the door, my mum in her cooking apron rushes quickly and with her red coloured index finger guarding her pouted lips, whispers harshly “Sushhh don’t ring the door bell, your sister’s doing piano lessons.”  She opens the door and quickly walks back to the kitchen she came from.  I gently click the door closed and make towards the living room door, gently pressing my ear to its wood.  The music notes leap up and down, up and down like gazelles on the Serangeti.

Next I’m at the dinner table tucking into steaming steak, carrot and onion.

Frances Bishop

The Four Seasons

The bright yellow daffodils that wave to the wind.

A sea of happiness and togetherness.

Mellow fruitfulness that reminds me of South Africa
Bright coloured leaves
Reds, green, orange and browns.

Beker sop

This bag was lovingly made for me by a patient with very bad arthritis, she was attending the hand clinic in the Johannesburg General Hospital South Africa. She had swan hands, it must have been so painful. I befriended her. She really did improve but her hands were never completely recovered. She was a wonderful brave person.

Frances Kerr

Clove Rock

Crushing the clove between my fingers I stop

And stand motionless, transfixed by memory.

I close my eyes and inhale the sharp sweet yet acrid scent

Which tantalises my nostrils.

And I am transported to another place and time.

I am about nine years old,

Behind the big wooden counter in Granny’s shop.

Behind me shelves reach from floor to ceiling,

Packed tight with anything you could want –

Blue bags for washing or stings, tins of food, bottles of sauce.

But my eyes were drawn inexorably to the row of glass bottles, standing in pride of place.

My fingers trail over the cold glass,

My eyes following them, studying the brightly coloured labels –

Brandy Balls, Pear Drops, Mint Humbugs, Rhubarb and Custard, Clove Rock.

Carefully I lift down the heavy jar,

Cradling it in my arms almost like a fragile baby or a kitten.

I unscrew the lid and immediately the scent envelops me,

Clove Rock!

Plunging my hand into the jar,

reaching into the deep corners as if mining for treasure,

I touch the hard, sharp corners of the sweets.

Curling my fingers round my treasure,

I start to lift them, but they are tacky, clinging to each other and the jar.

I pull harder, and am rewarded.

My hand rises triumphantly, clutching tightly to my booty.


I drop the sweets into the metal bowl on the scales.

The deep ruby jewel centres glow against the white edges and the dull metal.

Returning to the jar, I dig again, and gathered another handful.

As I open my fingers they clatter into the scales.

The needle moves into position – 4 oz, a quarter pound.

I have enough.


Lid tightly fastened, I reach up and slide the bottle into position on the shelf.

The paper bag rustles as I open it, and pour in the sweets.


Before I close the bag, I carefully select a jewel, and raise it to my lips.

The heat warms my mouth, and the sharp scent sates my senses.

I am content.

Nina Armstrong

I saw this stone sparkle at the sea while I was walking. I am convinced there is something precious inside.


Lush green beings
Froth and slide
Slate grey that sparkles in wet
Fragrant, pungent
Elemental Elders
Wisdom in sinews
Knowledge pulsing
A potent pattern re-emerging
Nourished and nurtured I bow


We share ancestors you and I
It’s not obvious from the names whispered forward in stories
Our shades shimmer differently in the sun
Our tongues curl around songs of a particular place
Raise your gaze, turn out your ear
One, two, ten thousand years
A beat. A rhythm. An exhalation.
She breathes and we breathe with her
She moves and we move
And beyond her?
Our Mother’s Mother?
We share ancestors you and I

Pedro Martins

The drum represents the pain and the joy of African people, it is the most used instrument in Africa in happy and sad times. It is used to celebrate the death of our ancestors. The drum is the voice of Africa.

The lost paradise

Broken dreams like sand castles,

Loving words that have been stolen by the wind.

Desires and promises that will never win.

Forgotten by the time and healed by suffering.


Poor roses!

Plucked from their garden,

Cut by the roots and thrown into the snow.

Whose fault is it?

The fault died orphaned between four walls.

Selfishness is a merciless murderer.

Red roses became dark

Strange way of love.

Renée Smith

In my travels I like to bring home beautiful musical instruments and textiles. It is a tangible way to connect with the crafts people. I love and appreciate them and I trust the universe to pass on my sentiments in some subconscious way.


Home can be

A sanctuary, prison or hotel

It depends on which story

You choose to tell.

A sanctuary can be

The humblest abode

The prison

A castle

Up the road.

Who can tell

Whether heaven or hell

It’s the people therein

Wherever they dwell.

A home, a prison

Trapped inside

By illness, circumstances

Freedom denied.

Home a sanctuary 

All sweetness and light

Everything you want 

Turning out all right.

A home a hotel

For all who drop by

For a chat, cup of  tea

Or just to say “ Hi”

A house is four walls

Its skeletal form

A buffer against

Wind, rain or storm.

A house vibrates and resonates

With the light and energy

Of its inmates.

Disharmony and discord 

Are registered too

Vibes given out

Beamed straight back

At you.

A home is the heart

Of whomever lives there

It’s up to them

To treat it with care.

A home transitions

Throughout the years

Children fill it, fly it

And then bounce back

Even if only for the craic!

But no matter what happens

It always will be

Home sweet home

For thee and me.

Shirin Bayset

In Bulgarian and Turkish culture baby socks are sacred. We keep them as family heirlooms. They are our history, stories passed down through generations at family gatherings, birthdays, weddings and even funerals. They are part of our Muslim traditions.

Baby Socks


Baby socks are sacred

We keep them as family heirlooms

We believe that they are history

They are passed down to the next generation


The prayer that’s read in the baby’s ears

It’s symbolic

To speak in the ear, so that the call to serve Allah is present from the start of child’s life


On the seventh day after birth, the child’s head is shaved

This is a naming ceremony

The shaving symbolising cleansing

The start of life in the presence of Allah


Family gatherings are a time to talk about such treasures

At birthday parties



We have so many traditions and celebrations in our Muslim Culture

Silvia Costa


Poetry is Liberty


My circumstance led me, at a certain moment, to say no, and to say it in verse, 

Affording to a certain rhythm, a certain touch, a certain correspondence of 

Sounds and images, ethos, pathos, and logos, instead of a Masonite, a canvas, an easel or a brush. 

My circumstance led me, at a certain moment, to say a big no; to a non-historical, poetic, cultural,

One that did not presume perhaps some naivety; a great conviction about the alchemical power of the word, by a time marked by utopias, where had not yet been the loss of meaning

And the advent of the age of emptiness,

                                 A song of language and time, in the form of no and poetry.

Like something that was in the air, which could be heard without hearing. 

 There were a rhythm, a metaphor, and the urgency to give back to the myths,

 A cantabile tone that came from the songs of friends, songbooks, and Shakespeare,

                                   Who inspires the rhyme by feather pen and a higher EQ.

Likewise, I am here to search for a new unity, 

Trying the attempt to reconcile expression and communication

Under penalty of poetry becoming a specialty for specialists,

This will make you lose all sense of wandering and demand, sharing, and circulation.

However, I will never be a Shakespeare! But my poetry has power!

A power that is an absolute and irremediable! Power against a different power!

Power of the essential relationship with life! Power with the world and with death itself,

                                                                             Remains, however ephemeral!

In each poet exist the history of all poetry. I believe in the magic power of the word

And I am convinced that a wrong verse can alter the cosmic balance of the free poetry.

I look for the word before the word. Poetry has a relationship with eternal liberty,

Poetic activity is revolutionary by nature: -Spiritual exercise is a method of inner liberation!

Without forgetting the orality! The sonority, the correspondences, the rhythm,

                                                                     Poetry is also to be said and shared!

I believe that the rhythm is before the word, and the word is sung or danced before the written word.

It is… Liberty! …Floating through the lines in a perfect choreography. Musical notes playing the paramount scene to the show. Like poetry was born of dance and the rhythm was the substance of things. The word liberates and creates.  Today, as always, poetry is Liberty!

Tatiana Denise Martins

It is the symbol of my roots, it is my origin, it represents happiness and friendship to me. It is my way back home



Bathed by the Atlantic waters, I am tropical

Barefooted, free and happy, I am Creole

My biggest virtue is to be humble

The music and rhythm are my kind

I am hospitable, I am generous

My name is Guinea-Bissau

The drums call everyone, come to Guinea-Bissau

Come and feel the warm of our rain, heavy and tropical

Don’t be fooled; my people are poor but the most generous

Our home invites everyone, come and sit, we are Creole

Go and meet beautiful islands, the finest kind

Go and visit Bolama, green, blue and humble

Come and see Biombo, our district is humble

Walk to Pidjiguiti Port of our capital Bissau

Go to Bandim market and taste fruits of any kind

Colours and tastes are exotic, exuberant and tropical

Coffee, chocolate and milky skins…we are all Creole

The heart, without any doubt is the same…so generous

The smiles are unique, candid and generous

Oh, my people! I love them so much, they are so humble

The hairs are braided, the hairs are frizzy, the hairs are creole

Creole is also what we speak, it is how we communicate in Bissau

Our dresses and fabrics are colorful as flowers, we are tropical

As flowers we inspire, as flowers we are kind

Our almost naked kids… oh, amazing! They are so kind

They dance, they smile while doing their chores… oh, so generous

From the trees they take their mangos, they are tropical

From the rain they take their shower, they are so humble

To school… sometimes the only way is Bissau

The Portuguese is for the classroom and for the street our Creole

With countless ethnicities and dialects, the unifying language is Creole

With countless wars without winners the people choose to be kind

With all the poverty and difficulties, our paradise is Bissau

With all the greediness of politics, the people still generous

With all the need to show greatness, the people still humble.


Project Facilitators

Bernarde Lynn

Bernarde worked for many years in social work and community development projects before becoming involved in the field of art, specifically photography. She is motivated by the telling of small stories and the use of the photograph as a pause or as a moment of meditation and also as a method of uncovering autobiographical memory,and is increasingly drawn to using photography as a simple tool for individuals and communities to express their own journey and tell their own story.  Bernarde facilitated the photography element in the SAME/Difference project, working with the participants to express themselves through the medium.

Viviana Fiorentino

Viviana Fiorentino is Italian and lives in Belfast where she teaches Italian literature. In 2018, she was awarded two Italian poetry prizes. Her poems, short stories and translations have appeared in international literature webzines and magazines, in both Itlaian and in English. She  has published in anthologies, poetry collections and a novel. Viviana co-founded two activist poetry initiatives ‘Sky, you are too big’,and ‘Letters with wings’ and the forgotten women artists blog,  Le Ortique. Viviana  worked on the SAME/Difference  project as a facilitator in creative writing.

Nandi Jola

Born in South Africa, Nandi came to Northern Ireland in 2001 and has since worked with extensively in the arts. She is a cultural ambassador and works in schools throughout Northern Ireland delivering cultural awareness workshops.  With extensive experience as a poet, storyteller, performer and facilitator, Nandi works to bring an understanding of the African culture, facilitating peace building workshops, reimaging communities, breaking down stereotypes, dispelling myths, tackling racism and sectarianism, promoting equality, diversity and inclusion.  Nandi worked on the SAME/Difference  project as a facilitator in creative writing.