Summer Institute Creative Writing

July 11–July 29, 2022

Three weeks
Three college credits 
Monday–Friday,  9 a.m.–4 p.m. & evening workshop hours

Develop your artistic voice in a creative and collaborative workshop setting, in which you’ll be immersed in poetry, fiction and other genres. You’ll learn from professional writers and editors with a variety of backgrounds as you sharpen your skills and gain writing experience in several areas. Modeled on UArts’ Creative Writing college experience, this program allows you to take an Art, Media and Design elective to broaden your skills.

Effective August 22, masks are optional for all members of our community and campus visitors in all of the university’s public spaces, including during performances, special events and other community gatherings, with occasional exceptions. Learn more about UArts' COVID-19 policies and response


Writing prompts and observational exercises in the city of Philadelphia spark discussion and critique.  Cross-disciplinary electives and collaborations allow you to explore an area of strength or branch out into something new, which will equip you to be able to tell your distinct story. 

Instructors and guest writers share advice for unlocking new modes of creative language and voice, and mentors provide critical feedback during evening workshopping conferences. You’ll also participate in weekly workshops and roundtable discussions with members of Philadelphia’s literary scene.

At the end of this program, students will

  • complete for presentation a polished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.

  • learn skills in critical thinking and revision practice through peer review and workshopping.

  • build skills in writing autobiographically and/or writing from lived experience.

  • gain facility with character development, plot and short story devices such as imagery, symbolism, perspective, voice and tone.

  • hone skills in poetry, considering structure, rhyme, image, as well as performative aspects.

  • explore methods and practices of being a writer in the world, including sharing work via submissions to literary magazines and community events; residencies, writing institutes and fellowships; and interacting with contemporary text.


Core Classes

You'll hone your craft in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and other forms, and study with a different dynamic faculty member each week. The program focus changes weekly and allows room for you to follow your inspiration, wherever it may take you.

Contemporary Short Fiction 
While looking towards contemporary writers as inspiration, you’ll write your own short stories while learning how to develop characters and voice, and how to transform your plot to enduring prose. What are the themes and concerns of modern day writing? You’ll experiment to find which short story devices best tell your story. 

Creative Nonfiction
Learn how to frame real life experiences into a story worth sharing. As Audre Lorde wrote, “The need for sharing deep feeling is a human need.” We’ll read some inspirational and classic texts that will guide us in our own short nonfiction pieces.
Take a few steps beyond the superficiality of poetry. What lingers beyond trends? What literary movements have led to the poetic thinking of today? Examine and dissect contemporary work while developing critical vocabulary and expressing yourself in powerful new ways.


You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a course of your choice on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Choose one from the following options. 

  • Art Appreciation 

  • Drawing

  • Figure Drawing

  • Screenprinting

  • Sketchbooks: Experiments & Field Notes

  • Street Photography

  • Writing for Comics

View course descriptions for electives.

A Week in the Life

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View a sample schedule.


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m.  Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 1–4 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 4–6 p.m. Open Studio


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective

  • 4–8 p.m.  Open Studio 


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 1–4 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 4–6 p.m. Workshopping 


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 1–4 p.m. Elective

  • 4–6 p.m. Workshopping


  • 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)

  • 1–4 p.m  Contemporary short fiction, Creative nonfiction or poetry (rotates weekly)


  • Optional off-campus field trips

Note: Students break for lunch between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. every day. Some evening activities are part of the program’s curriculum. Commuters should plan accordingly.

Summer 2022 Faculty

Headshot of MeeRee Orlandini
MeeRee Orlandini

BFA '19

Creative Writing (BFA)

How to Apply

The last day to apply was May 15, 2022

Tuition and Fees  

Tuition: $3,400
Program Fee: $150  
Housing and Meals: $1,390

Commuter Total: $3,550
Residential Total: $4,940

Students are expected to bring supplies with them or purchase them once they arrive on campus. Supply lists will be shared one month prior to the start of the program with cost estimates.

Spending & Miscellaneous Expenses
Students spend an average of $80–$100 per week on additional items including laundry, snacks, personal spending and non-required supplies.



Scholarships for the Summer Institute are awarded to students in high academic standing with significant creative potential and financial need. Scholarship awards are competitive. Students are able to apply for either a merit- or need-based scholarship. 

Learn about Summer Institute scholarships.


The Summer Institute Creative Writing program was a reminder that I was and remain on the path where I feel most myself.
— Isabel Rose Catalan ’25 (Creative Writing), ’20 (Summer Institute)


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