In a non-competitive, nurturing atmosphere, the M14423 course helps participants develop creative skills, expanded sense perception, concept innovation and problem solving, increased inspiration and brainstorming, and new ways of looking at life as exciting and transformative. Our creativity workshops in New York City and our summer creativity workshops in Europe are a perfect retreat for teachers, business people, writers, scientists, artists and anyone curious about the creative process.
Florence – city of Renaissance splendor. Home of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Botticelli. Florence is also the setting of Bruneleschi’s Duomo which revolutionized architecture and the Uffizi Gallery which contains masterpieces of Renaissance masters and is the legacy of the Medici family.
Each day the M14423 in Florence will meet for 3 1/2 hours. We will explore ways to expand our creativity through a series of exercises including guided visualization technique, automatic drawing and writing, map making, memoir, and storytelling. Throughout the workshop, the
exercises and talks by the instructors will focus on ways to:
- Believe in your creativity
- Stimulate your perceptive abilities
- Find inspiration in the world around you
- Discover and use images from the unconscious
- Get over creative blocks and the fear of failure
- Engage your curiosity
- Recognize and use your creative instincts
- Give yourself the time, permission, and nourishment to do creative work
- Develop a daily practice to accomplish these goals
- Work collaboratively
- Use your memories to engage the imagination.
Notes: Order and kinds of exercises and instructors' talks may vary. Some exercises are done individually while others are collaborative.
We will meet 3 1/2 hours per day.
Day 1, Arrival. Free day. Time for you to settle in and relax.
Day 2, Wednesday, July 25: First day of workshop. Introduction to the hows and whys of the M14423. Exercises in relaxation technique and guided visualization. Visualization: writing and drawing using the myth of the hero’s journey as our framework. Automatic Drawing exercise: Finding our hidden imagery. Exercise in ‘show and tell’ as a means of honing our natural storytelling styles and retrieving childhood memories to spark ideas. Instructor talks about famous writers, scientists, artists and their sources of inspiration, and how we can use some of those same sources.
Day 3, Thursday, July 26: Relaxation exercise followed by a visualization using map making. Map making as a way to find, chart, and tell fictional stories and true life experiences. Exercise in Automatic Writing. How automatic writing allows you to brainstorm and create in new and surprising ways. How we can use automatic writing to get over creative blocks and discover new ways of developing and editing work, while avoiding self-censorship. Why alternating between writing and drawing aids us in developing creative flexibility. The Interview: Listening and experiencing a life outside our own. How listening is as important as doing in creative work.
Day 4, Friday, July 27: Today's visualization exercise uses letter writing as a way to explore voice in writing. Miniature Theatre: an exercise in storytelling with found objects. Automatic Writing continues with Writing in Groups. How writing and/or drawing with others can stimulate our imaginations and expand our points of view. Topics of instructors' talks may include: the importance of play and the need to value the creative process over product. Enforced Cafe-Sitting: the art of relaxed observation. How to carve out time for creativity in a busy schedule. How to do on-going creative work in a short modules of time? How we can use luck and coincidence to jump start creative projects. Creative freedom requires discipline: Developing daily practice.
Day 5, Saturday, July 28: Today's visualization is The Myth of the Other: imagining ourselves living a parallel life. The imagination's magic phrase: What If. The Graphic Novel: Hw a team can recognize and use their creative instincts together. Doors and Windows: exploring how to focus on the details of your environment using photography, writing and drawing. Importance of detail in making creative work come alive. Finding inspiration in the world around us. Topics of instructors talks may include: honoring our innate creativity; how to rekindle fearless imagination.
Day 8, Sunday, July 29: Visualization exercise using maps and legends to tell our stories. Automatic drawing and writing exercises continue. How to be our own trickster and transform ourselves and our creative ventures. Exercise using postcards. Cafe exercise: Writing, drawing or photography to search for characters. Exercise in stimulating our perceptive abilities and discover and use images from the unconscious. The Lesson of the Sand mandala: How process can also be product.
Instructor talk: How to get over creative blocks and the fear of failure. Making our home and work environments inspiring for the imagination. Life after the Workshop: Ways to keep using these techniques to keep our imaginations alive and flourishing. How to give yourselves the daily time, permission and nourishment to do creative work.
Note: There are no classes on the final day of the workshop. This day is free for participants to put to active use the various techniques learned in the workshop and to explore the cultural, historical and natural riches of each location and its people. It is suggested you make your sightseeing plans during your stay and not before you come to allow for flexibility in your itinerary. Most excursions are available with very little time in advance. Excursions are not included.
Day 9, Free Day: Monday, July 30: Trip to Tuscan hill towns, including San Gimignano and Cortona. Trip to Siena or Fiesole.
Day 10, Tuesday, July 31: Departure.
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