Summer Institute : Creative Writing : Classes

Writing students participate in a series of Core Classes as well as one Art, Media + Design Elective.  View a Sample Schedule.  

Creative writing students will focus on four writing genres—one per week.

CREATIVE NONFICTION As many acclaimed writers have demonstrated, nonfiction doesn’t have to mean a history lesson. Learn to apply flourish and expression that add credibility to actual events—starting with the events of your own life—which will morph from memories to short written works when you apply devices acquired in this class. 

FICTION Conjuring up a plot is one thing; executing it effectively is another. Merge your great ideas with exacting delivery by developing the elements and subtleties that transform a compelling anecdote, thought or observation into enduring prose. 

POETRY Learn to distinguish effective poems from the poorly executed or clichéd using proven approaches. Examine and dissect contemporary work while developing a critical vocabulary for understanding poems better— and expressing yourself in powerful new ways. 

SCRIPTWRITING Imagine your writing leaping off the page and onto the big screen— or stage. Writing successfully for film, television, and stage requires a strong under­standing of screenplay and theatrical conven­tions. This course introduces you to the basic sequences and structures that shape these thriving genres. Walk away with the tools and knowledge needed to write feature-length stage and screen projects. 

Students in the Creative Writing program will have the opportunity to participate in an elective of their choosing on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons with students in the Art, Media + Design program. 

Students choose one elective from the following: 


Advanced Drawing*
Focus on design and composition as you work toward sustained studies and large-scale finished drawings. Explore structure, space, line and tone while working in various media. Work from still life, interiors, landscape, and figures while experimenting with a variety of materials including conté crayon, pastels, and toned and colored papers. Prior drawing experience preferred. Nude figure models will be used in this course.
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Digital Effects for Film + Animation
Create digital effects for both live-action and animated films. Industry professionals will show you how to shoot and light sequences in front of a green screen for compositing into another setting. You'll also create standard effects such as muzzle slashes, classic lightsabers, explosions, and more using particle emitters and other effects appropriate for any genre of work — from sci-fi, fantasy, or horror to drama and comedy. At the end of this course, you'll have hands-on experience working in programs such as Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Photoshop. For your final project, you'll create a portfolio piece complete and original special effects sequence: from storyboard through post-production. 
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Drawing is the most basic, rudimentary art and design tool — and it is a fundamental component of all creative disciplines. If you have not had formal training in drawing, here's the place to start. Instruction will focus on drawing from life, including still life, models, and landscape. You'll explore foundational drawing techniques such as light, shadow, rendering, perspective, and composition. Working in classical media such as pencil, charcoal, and ink, you'll develop essential observational skills while learning about the various contemporary applications for drawing.  
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Figure Drawing*
Drawing the figure is both challenging and rewarding — and can be crucial for many forms of artmaking and design. This course will allow you to focus exclusively on articulating the human form on a 2D surface. Instruction and demonstrations will help you develop observational skills as well as strategies for checking for accuracy. You’ll primarily work from skeletons and models as you learn basic anatomy and skeletal structure, gesture, volume and foreshortening to gain knowledge of figuration that you can utilize for future projects or apply to other media. Prior drawing experience is helpful for this course. 
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Industrial Design
Industrial designers strive to create better human experiences by enhancing everyday design. In this course, you'll gain an introduction to the process of creating consumer products — from mechanical drawing and prototyping to writing manufacturing and packaging directions. You’ll be introduced to digital fabrication tools and their various applications in art and design, as well as fabricate your own 3D printed and laser cut prototypes. By the end of the course, you will be able to recognize a product’s meaning in culture and context, as well as what constitutes effective design for today’s world. 
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Learn the D.I.Y. medium of dissemination that Andy Warhol famously stole from industrial production processes and transformed into an art form. Grasp the basics of screenprinting, from setup and screen prep to image transferring and printing. Learn to screenprint posters, zines, bags, apparel and more. This empowering course will give you the tools to print your imagery, pattern, logo or message on items of your choice.  
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Street Photography
Follow in the footsteps of pioneering street photographers such as Eugène Atget and Henri Cartier-Bresson — and contemporary artists like Lee Friedlander and Stephen Shore — by capturing the city’s spirit with your lens. Explore camera control along with essential photographic concepts such as “the decisive moment”. You’ll put these concepts to use on walking trips to local Philadelphia parks, markets, and galleries, where you’ll transform the conventional into the exceptional and hone your distinct perspective of the world around you. Previous experience using a camera is preferred for this course. 
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Taxidermy as Wearable Art
Taxidermy is one of the world’s oldest and most alluring crafts. In this introductory course, you’ll creatively repurpose, design and fabricate animal specimens. Learn the essentials of basic taxidermy under the supervision of a seasoned instructor, ultimately completing accessories or wearable embellishments of your design. Specimens for the class are sourced humanely and are safe to handle. 
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Explore the subversive role of zines, from their emergence in the 1970s as a feature of the concurrent punk scene, to their contemporary cultural relevance. You’ll gain agency by creating original printed zines using time-honored D.I.Y. methods: hand-drawing, printing, photocopying, folding and distributing — and you’ll also be prompted to innovate these methods to adapt to twenty-first-century media platforms. The course will include a field trip to a local zine distributor where students will be able to peruse the small press creations of Philadelphia’s local political dissidents and social peripherals.
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*Note: Nude figure models will be used in drawing and painting courses 


View the Summer Institute 2016 Creative Writing Journal >> 

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