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On Saturday 2nd September I attended a creative writing workshop let by Anne Grange of The Writers' Workshop, a creative hub for emerging, developing and established wordsmiths.

Launched in 2021 by Beverly Ward, the company is based in Orchard Square in Sheffield where they have a cosy room from which they run a series of workshops and other regular meet-ups. Many of their events can also be attended online.

Pictured above, left: the treasure trove in one of the banquettes. Right: a frame in the space with the quote; "Not all those who wander are lost" by J.R.R Tolkien.

In this occasion, we were asked to bring two objects: one of a place we love and one reminding us or symbolising home. We were then issued prompts and given space to write and share with the group.

Below, I am including the prompts that generated my text, should you be up for writing your own. If you do, make sure you time yourself and allow for some free writing to flow.


Objects of a place you love - prompts

Think of an object of a place you love.

When did this object come into your life? Think of that precise moment.

When you hold the object, where do you go? How does it feel?

Describe the object. Is it fragile? Sturdy?

How old is the object?

What would happen to it in the future?




The gentle sound of the sea waves licking the beach.

My feet, sinking in all the small stones.

A cloudy, warm, blue sky.

The smell of salt.

The sense of freedom.

His green-grey-blue eyes.

His smile...

No time, no clocks, no ties.

The stone is heavy and smooth against my palm.

When my fingers touch it gently I see the roads ahead of us, the trees behind us.

The twists and turns.

The valleys opening up.

The fresh smell of the morning dew.

The sticky sensation of the summer against my skin.

How old is this stone?

Is it even a stone or a magical portal to the past?

Perhaps there is a clever way to activate it so that I can jump straight back in the memory...

sit down and...

smell the sea, smell the sea food, smell the sea breeze

the sea space, the sea air, the sea clouds, the sea sun...


I look down.

It is a stone.

Or perhaps a secret amulet from an ancient water goddess.

Pictured above: a white and grey amulet or stone or portal to the past

I oscillate between being a proud polymath and the need to specialise.

When I finished school, I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I can’t really recall having a childhood dream of pursuing a specific profession (I wish I could claim that “I do not dream of labour”).

I ended up studying political science mainly because it sounded varied enough that I felt I wouldn't get bored and will eventually find “my path” (SciencesPo was also serious enough to satisfy my parents’ ambitions for my future).

Whilst studying, I often envied my colleagues who seemed to have much clearer goals than I did (I spent more time and energy setting up the Arts society, leading salsa classes and failing to play rugby than studying economics or reading about the history of institutions).

Now a good decade after having graduated and working in a different field(s), I am still in awe of entrepreneurs who can spend years and even decades focusing on growing one idea; of creatives who only make work in their chosen role/genre or of PhD students who can spend years delving deeper and deeper into one single subject.

Yet, as soon as I really start thinking about these unilateral pursuits, part of my skin begins to crawl. Do I really admire this or am I taught to want it?

I didn’t know that the famous quote “jack of all trades, master of none” continues as “…but oftentimes better than one”. Apparently, it was first used by some Robert Greene who was referring to Shakespeare, both a playwright and an actor. With time, we’ve chosen to completely forget the second half…

When I was finally able to go fully freelance last year, I read Emma Gannon’s The Multi-Hyphen Method book which gave me renewed courage to embrace my "hyphens" and to actually see them as strings to my bow. Being a multipotentialite in uncertain times is strategically savvy, opening up diverse income streams and widening one’s network. The arguments in favour of polymaths also point to the fact that your unique combination of skills, experiences and points of view is what will make you stand out and “cut through the noise”.

This however seems completely contradictory to, for example, how social media platforms operate. Powered by enigmatic algorithms, they favour consistence and focused content: post often and post about your “niche” is the go-to advice of all marketers. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if it wasn’t symptomatic of society at large. It seems that there is a general growing inability to hold contradictions, to live with nuance and to allow time for complexity to unfold.

This desire for specialism and the subsequent intolerance of multi-hyphen realities (both at work and beyond) is closely linked to the evolution of economics, from Taylorism to economic specialisation, all with the aim to increase productivity, efficiency and, ultimately, earning potential.

We have been sold the idea of the single minded, hyper focused genius as the way to succeed. Taking the longer route, by educating yourself in multiple fields, dabbling in several hobbies, having a non-linear career progression or (God forbid) prioritising other aspects of life are all clearly discouraged. This is mirrored by our tools (like how Linkedin drives me mad because it is so not adapted to portfolio careers or when I have to provide a CV for something, which is always a hair-tearing exercise) but is most entrenched in our way of seeing the world. I started calling myself an artist after a decade of awkwardly being labelled a producer, a term I never felt fully represented what I did. But “artist” is only part of the picture as well, especially now that I qualified as NLP practitioner and coach, adding more terms to my ever-growing biog. I often also wonder how much financial insecurity actually played a part in me developing these strands (investing fully in one direction has always felt riskier than maintaining several doors open…).

I am not going to lie, some days it is still frustrating not to have only one neatly defined business to run or one unique passion to pursue. Most days however, I do find myself embracing the messiness of being a multipotentialite. Not only because, as Emily Wapnik highlights it in this TedTalk, we have some pretty useful superpowers but also because it has become an exercise of resisting mainstream ideas of productivity and success.

So, f*ck getting there in an efficient and timely manner - let us celebrate wonderful, meandering zigzags that enrich life instead. If that is your thing, obvs.

I wrote the following texts as a response to the creative residencies Becoming [...] which took place in 3 different countries: Becoming Czech in Brno, Czech Republic; Becoming Romanian in Bucharest, Romania and Becoming Alman in Berlin, Germany. The fourth edition, Becoming British, is an exhibition interrogating national identities and processes of belonging from the perspective of migrant artists and communities based in England. It took place at Bloc Projects in Sheffield, from 17th to 25th June 2022 as part of the Migration Matters Festival.

The final monologue included in this series of texts is the piece that gave birth to the idea of the Becoming British play (and exhibition) and all the international residencies that followed.


Written in February 2022, days after the invasion of Ukraine and before starting Becoming Czech.

Shock, sadness, impotence, anger

All the ways you can lose your home


Some of what is on my mind right now.

White supremacy




My brother. His family

The sickening feeling of disgust in the face of our cruelty.

Safety. Comfort. Belonging

Individual responsibility and communal duty

The role of the state

The role of the arts


The importance and power of the arts are always under question.

A call to action

Sprints VS marathons

Redistributing resources

Supporting what is already there

Scaffolding. Networking. Connecting

Doing instead of thinking


Bringing together

Sharing. Co-creating. Listening

Really listening

What does actually matter, at the end of the day?


Written in March 2022 at the end of Becoming Czech.


Coziness and the belief that our collective energies merge and collapse on each other to create a soft cloud of understanding.

Solving problems like a fun, harmless drug that transforms challenges into silver bond of friendship.

Tired together by the invisible thread of our common destiny, we exist.

Under the canopy, new and wonderful things start to emerge.

We learn from each other

We transform

What does it mean to become in a world filled with uncertainty? What stays and what is gone forever?

We use our words and we use our bodies and like a living, breathing organism we contract under pressure and expand in our safety.

Safety. Safe. Protected. Privileged.

The missing voices push through the page and through the walls in our ears and our heads, they must be present. Visible.







It is? Who says, who decides, who gets to have the last word?

Who can tell you you are not enough and who is listening?

Can you truly be heard?










Beer, wine, homemade apple alcohol

Coffee! Lots of coffee




Coconut milk

Fruits, chopped with lova


And some other stuff I forgot.

In case of need, ask a friend.


I am sitting in a silence that isn’t.

My breath is soft, relaxed. In the near distance, words of experience paint pictures now shared into the ether of the world. Movements further away remind me the city, its people, this country continue their activities unaware.

Does magic exist if no one witnesses it?

Isn't that exactly what magic is?

As soon as I attempt to understand what we’ve done, what is happening, the tent walls become bed sheets again; the stories become sound again; the soft embrace of a stranger: a bunch of weird people bumbling about in a building made of promises…

I always feel this uneasiness, like I need to justify every choice, every action by its usefulness, by its impact on society. It is exhausting. I am tired. Guild is a heavy feeling, I don’t want it anymore.

Can you hold it for me? Just a bit. Just for a little while so that I can slip into a coat of fantasy and forget about the wars, the injustices, the inequalities and the burning sensation that our world is ending.

Please. Give me your hand, see me for who I am and stand by my side.

Together, I feel, we can cope. We can move from survival to living. To thriving.

Thriving. What an intriguing word.

Grasp. Getting hold of. Flourishing.

Hold on to my hand, new friend.

Grasp, understand with me.

From individual branches we can become the forest.

We grow.

We transform.

We flourish


Written in May 2022 as part of Becoming Alman. Based on the workshop participant’s notes.

A life-trip, observing the world from a different perspective.

A transition.

A constant process, experiencing the freshness of the new…Traumas.

When I go back home, it is not my place.

I really like it here but it is not my place.

This place doesn’t belong to anyone.

This is a journey. A never ending process.

No terminus.

Personally, I don’t feel integrated but rather incorporated.

I float. I don’t mix.

I am oil in water, chocolate powder.

I won’t melt.

You only complicate things with your arrogance and your bureaucracy and…

I feel your gaze, your questions.

I avoid contact because I don’t speak German. Or English.

I don’t have German friends.

My body is rigid. I am trapped in my body.

I have to, I have to, I have to, I have to, I have to…

I am forced to conform to this system. I cannot express myself properly.

There are too many codes.

I am told things, bad things, and I want to be able to respond.

I want to, I want to, I want to, I want to…

How do I quit or escape or unplug?

A life-trip, A never ending process. No terminus.

Who do I want to become? Who can I be? What am I?

Observing the world from a different perspective, becoming has already been.

I am what I transform into.

A translation of your version, a reference.

The alternative.


Monologue written in Nov 2021 as part of the 1st Becoming British residency at Sheffield Theaters

Sorting out your oyster card for the very first time

Knowing the price of things

Going to a shop, a cafe or the pub and for the staff to know your name...and your order!

Having all the good recommendations

Knowing the history of the place

And being able to take friends and family around like a tourist guide

Hating on tourists!

And never, ever wanting to go back to Oxford street

Knowing the short cuts, the free exhibitions, the good deals

Walking on autopilot

Not looking at the buildings anymore. Nor looking up anymore

Accepting the bad as well as the good as “how things are”

Having the right clothes for the right weather

Finding yourself enjoying a rainy day

Consider wearing a skimpy dress when going out in winter aaaand… changing your mind and layering.


Talking about the weather all-the-time!

Remembering the heatwave and that one time we spent the whole day in the park playing rounders

Having a barbecue as soon as the sun is out...even if it is in the middle of March

Craving a pint

Finding the smell of the pub almost… comforting

Eating a good pie

Fish & Chips, obviously

Being the first one to suggest popping the kettle on

After a while, going back home and being surprised by the familiar smell of your own house…

Saying stuff like “back home”, “in my culture”; “in my country”

And catching yourself doing it

Having to find your words in your own language

Using word from other languages, unaware

Feeling like an outsider when “ you go back”

Noticing what shops have closed, what buildings don’t exist anymore… having to look up.

Thinking “back in my day” and not catching yourself doing it.

Wanting to leave

Feeling guilty


Finding it rude when people don’t say sorry

Finding it rude when people don’t queue

Feeling smug that you live in a place where people do queue

Seeing cueing as the finest expression of civilisation

Not saying the things you really think how you really think them

Nodding, pretending you understand

“Working on your accent” !

Finding out, years later, that it is not “ears-dropping” , “pastry-dish” or “damp squid” (which makes much more sense if you ask me)

And messing up the little annoying bits of sentence that change everything: look out for, looking in, look up, look it up, looking for… ah!

English is half French anyway!

Stocking up on your favourite foods

Having too many KGs in your suitcase

Stuffing cheese in your pockets to go through security at the airport


Thinking about the Home Office, deportation, detention, being kicked out, not let in

Being privileged to only be thinking about it at this stage

Feeling guilty again. Feeling lucky.

Sweating at passport control

Travelling with a whole bunch of documents like you are a special envoy or something

Proving your status, your income, your employment, your residence.

“I swear I am not leaving for long”. “I live here (no, not here-here but here there)”

“No, I don’t claim benefits” I don’t even know how they work

“Yes I pay taxes”

“No I can’t vote”

“Yes I have a job” - multiple jobs actually but I am not stealing jobs, I promise

I only take what I need and often give more than I have

No, no I don’t have dependants Not yet.

I haven’t been convicted, no.

I do have an income (not much, never enough but don’t say that!)

Don’t say your parents helped you, that looks bad.

Say you have savings. Make sure they show on your account

Get a bank account. And a credit card.

Find someone of a reputable profession to say that you are who you are.

That you is you.



Call. Wait.


Dave, Mitchel, Paul, Patrick, Antoinette, Neil

And finally Helen.

Thank you Helen!


Solemnly, sincerely and truly

Declare and affirm

That on becoming

A British Citizen

You will be faithful

And bear true allegiance

To her Majesty Queen Elisabeth the II

Her heirs and successor

According to law

I will give my loyalty

to the United Kingdom

And respect its rights and freedoms

I will uphold

Its democratic values

I will observe its laws faithfully

And fulfill my duties

And obligations

As a British Citizen

I do

I do solemnly

sincerely and truly

Declare and affirm

That on becoming

A British Citizen

I will be faithful

And bear true allegiance

To her Majesty Queen Elisabeth the II

Her heirs and successor

According to law

I will give my loyalty

to the United Kingdom

And respect its rights and freedoms

I will uphold

Its democratic values

I will observe its laws faithfully

And fulfil my duties

And obligations

As a British Citizen

I will be faithful

And bear true allegiance

To her Majesty Queen Elisabeth the II

I will give my loyalty

to the United Kingdom

I will observe its laws faithfully

And fulfil my duties

And obligations

As a British Citizen

I do

I do

I do solemnly

sincerely and truly

Declare and affirm

I will be faithful

I will give my loyalty

to the United Kingdom

And respect its rights and freedoms

I will uphold

Its democratic values

I will bear true allegiance

To her Majesty Queen Elisabeth the II

Her heirs and successor

I do

I do

I will give my loyalty

to the United Kingdom

And respect its rights and freedoms

I will uphold

Its democratic values

I will observe its laws faithfully

And fulfill my duties

And obligations

As a British Citizen

I will

I will

I do.

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