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She believes that creativity is a common denominator of humanity and she is passionate about educating individuals and organizations about how to develop this uniquely human gift. Berc emphasizes that many of the creative thinking processes that a scientist, a CEO, and an artist go through are extremely similar, even though the outcomes are as different as can be.

In 2000, she left academia to dedicate herself wholly to The Creativity Workshop, which she founded in 1993 with Alejandro Fogel when they were cultural ambassadors for the United States Information Agency. (Source)

We had the privilege of interviewing Berc with some questions that have been on our mind about The Workshop pertaining to how the program can have an effect on the everyday Graphic Designer.

When was the first Creative Workshop?

They started in Tuscany in 1993. then became a full semester course at The University of Iowa where Shelley was a professor in the international writing program for professional writers and the playwriting MFA program and Alejandro was a professional visual artist.

How did The Creative Workshops come about?

We believe that there are plenty of places teaching specific art techniques but no one concentrating upon where imagination and creativity come from in each individual and how to keep it alive over time in a career. we wanted to address that central aspect of art.

I see the workshops take place all over the United States and Europe. Do you have a member of staff in each location?

Yes, we have local assistants but our in-house staff teach all the workshops

What can a designer gain attending one of these workshops?

Designers are one of the primary profession groups that take this workshop. P and G hired us to work with their product designers for health and beauty to keep them in touch with their imagination, originality, and the ability to keep seeing in new and exciting ways. We do a lot of work with guided visualizations, envisioning, exploring images of the imagination and working with visual metaphors–all of which are very fruitful and exciting for designer specializations from industrial to graphic to interior.

Designers will also :

• Learn practical techniques to stimulate creativity, imagination, and innovative thinking

• Get over creative blocks, writer’s block, and paralyzing self-criticism

• Find new sources of inspiration in everyday life

• Establish a 15 minute a day creativity practice to accomplish these goals

That sounds great, can you tell us more about what goes on during the workshops from a designer’s perspective?

In addition, designers can experience Moving Between Visual, Visceral, and Language-Based Exercises. We believe that working back and forth between writing, oral storytelling, drawing, collage, and visual imagery stimulates the full spectrum of human cognition in a way that working within just one discipline does not. Working outside our discipline and therefore out of our comfort zone can release us from stultifying perfectionism and give us the freedom to experiment, and make mistakes. We are free to discover new concepts, new projects, new possibilities.

Don’t forget you can receive a discount to the workshop courtesy of GraphicDesign.com for $200 off Europe and Dubai and $100 off NYC. All you have to do is enter discount code GD2013. Simply go to www.creativityworkshop.com and select the workshop you wish to attend. You then simply need to enter GD2013 when registering. (Source)

Here are upcoming Creativity Workshops for 2013/2014 (Source):

New York
June 7 – 10
August 16 – 19
August 20 – 23
October 18 – 21
December 21 – 22 Intensive

Crete June 23 – 29
Barcelona July 4 – 10
Provence July 16 – 22
Florence July 25 – 31
Dubai December 4 – 7

2014
Prague March 23 – 29
Dublin March 31 – April 6