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Portfolio review—two words capable of striking fear into the hearts of artists and designers everywhere. It can be one of the most valuable exercises for creatives to undergo but many of us dread it. Not only is there critique of the work, but the actual presentation of the work itself. Digital, print, both? How many pieces? What to include, what to leave out? Underlying it all is the fact that portfolio review is typically done in an academic or professional context.

If only there were a way to take some of the pressure out of the process… enter Behance Portfolio Review Week. Some of you may already know Behance as a creative platform to share and discover new work, now Behance has launched it’s first Portfolio Review Week, to be held from May14–21st around the world. I spoke with Community Manager, Sarah Rapp to find out more about it.

Q: How did the idea for Behance Portfolio Review Week come about and is this the first time Behance is doing this?

Sarah Rapp: Yes, this is the first time. We were thinking about what we could do offline, ways we could engage international user base beyond the online experience. We already had an Ambassador Program in place for the past year with 15 Behance representatives worldwide building local creative communities, and we wanted to do even more. The idea of portfolio review events just fit so closely with our mission to help [creative professionals] get exposure, improve and learn from each other. There’s something so valuable about getting specific feedback for their own work.

Q. What has the response been like? Have you tapped specific organizations to participate?

Sarah Rapp: The response has been really great! We already have 120 events confirmed, some of which are planned by leaders in the creative world such as SapientNitro (Boston) and Bruce Mau Design (Toronto) who are hosting reviews.

Q. How does the review work?

Sarah Rapp: Each event has an organizer, who will invite 5-6 creatives to present their work in front of an audience—who will be the people to give the critique after each presentation. Anyone can attend, and there’s time to network and socialize after. On the planning side, the phase we’re in now is where we’re putting together kits of materials to send to each organizer that will include moderator cards, presenter cards, promotional posters, postcards and a custom minted coin to reward presenters.

Q. Are there plans for post event content?

Sara Rapp: Yes, we’ll post photos, videos and a listing of the presenters. We’re thinking about what else we can do afterwards to keep the spirit of the events alive, and continue the passing around of work and feedback. We’re hoping that demand will lead to a series within communities. Even after Portfolio Review Week ends, members will be free to organize an event anytime, so we think that they list of events will only continue to grow.

Q. It sounds really great. Can you talk a little bit about how Behance has grown and other initiatives?

Sarah Rapp: The first version of Behance was launched in 2007, and was started to help empower creative professionals. Our flagship product, the Behance Network has grown into a huge platform to showcase and discover creative work. What’s really great is that it functions like an ecosystem [where creatives] can upload work as well as push out to other places such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. A year ago we released ProSite, an online portfolio solution that you can use to creative whatever you imagine for your personal website. Using ProSite for your website has advantages, like being easy to find on Google and easy to “stumble” upon, in additional to being fully customizable.

Q. Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Sarah Rapp: Yes, there will be an event kick off for Behance Portfolio Review Week in New York on Tuesday, May 15th at Grind Space. We’re full, but we will be taking people off the waitlist—so we welcome every to sign up! http://behanceportfolioreview.eventbrite.com/