The Creativity Workshop is based in New York City and is taught around the world.
It was established in 1993 by educator and writer Shelley Berc and educator and multimedia artist Alejandro Fogel. The organization is dedicated to teaching individuals and groups about their creative processes.
Shelley Berc has been teaching people in all disciplines how to access, nurture, and expand their creativity for over 20 years. 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.
Berc was a full professor at the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and the Iowa Playwrights Workshop from 1985-2000. 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.
As well as being a prominent educator, Shelley Berc is a well known author of novels and plays. Her novel, The Shape of Wilderness, was published by Coffee House Press. The New York Times praised it as “a vividly imagined parable…a strange and potent book…a fantastical world of unusual sensuality and invention”. Her second novel, Light and Its Shadow, was recently published by Ethos Press. Her numerous awards include a McKnight Fellowship, two Lila Wallace/Readers Digest awards, Rockefeller/Bellagio Fellowship, National Jewish Culture Playwriting award, the prestigious two year Pew/TCG National Theatre Artists Residency, an NEA Opera/Music librettist fellowship, and an Outer Critics Circle nomination for best off-Broadway play.
Shelley Berc’s theatre pieces have starred many notable actors, such as Patrick Stewart, Stanley Tucci, and Tony Shalhoub. Her plays have been performed at the American Repertory Theatre, the Yale Rep, Seattle Rep, and Classic Stage Company among others. She holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and was one of the first women to graduate from Amherst College.
Born in Buenos Aires, Alejandro Fogel has excavated existence, both temporal and ephemeral for over 40 years.
His work has taken the form of writing, paintings, installations, prints, videos, photographs and travel performances transforming mundane objects and materials into treasured possessions that document his encounters with the overlappings of time, geography, philosophy, physics, history and peoples. Though it all, he follows his father’s journey in war-torn Europe and South America and how it intersects and diverges with his own journey.
As in life, much of his work is stored in sealed boxes waiting to be deteriorated by time and obsolete technologies. As the stories he tells are consumed by the passage of time, often losing relevance and disappearing, his material analog art works are also fading and becoming only memories. Some of his pieces quickly become blank as they are made with consumer products designed to rapidly self-destruct. Others fade slowly, darkened to obscurity. They all follow the same ultimate destination.
Fogel’s work is an exploration of the interstices of modern and ancient structures and their metaphysical, cultural, and historical value to contemporary society; their transformation and final extinction.
Alejandro Fogel has received numerous awards and honors and exhibited his work around the world. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, where he studied and wrote about the descendants of the Incas now living in Argentina. He was also an artist-in-residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy. He received the Rolex Award for Enterprise to publish his multidisciplinary project, The Incas Road. Alejandro Fogel’s surviving works are currently disappearing in museums and private collections worldwide.
His latest book is Coaching Che Guevara.
Elizabeth Eiss is our specialist for The Creativity Workshop for Business.
She is a well-rounded and seasoned senior executive who has successfully led operations in multi-billion dollar companies to start up ventures. As both an intra-preneur and entre-preneur, she has an extensive track record of progressive accomplishment and positive impact to bottom line results.
Elizabeth’s expertise includes strategic planning, growth strategies, change management, merger and acquisition, people leadership, organizational effectiveness, turn-arounds, workflow/process design and leveraging technology systems to create business value. Her sector expertise includes insurance, financial and investment services, software development and applied consulting.
Currently, Elizabeth is a faculty member of The Creativity Workshop specializing in the application of creativity development techniques to a wide range of business opportunities and challenges. As an Executive-on-Demand, she also coaches and consults for a number of companies to drive initiatives from strategy to successful execution.
Since 2006, Elizabeth has been a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, an investment firm dedicated to delivering above market returns through the empowerment of women entrepreneurs and the people who invest in them.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College and continued her education through the Wharton School of Business Senior Executive program.
Elizabeth actively mentors a number of rising leaders in their professional development. She has served on the advisory board of Pro Mujer, a microfinance organization devoted to bettering the lives of women in South America through an integrated program of lending, training and healthcare. She also served on the corporate advisory board of the School of American Ballet, the training institute of the New York City Ballet.
Professor Kirpal Singh is recognized internationally as an expert in the field of creativity development and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and seminars on Creativity & Innovation. He has been a faculty member at The Creativity Workshop since 2004.
He is the founding Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Studies at the Singapore Management University, where he is a professor and teaches courses in creative thinking. Dr. Singh’s latest book, “Thinking Hats & Colored Turbans” deals with the exploration of creativity in business, art, science, and life. He has been a consultant in innovation to several large corporations (such as AMEX, IBM, Singapore Airlines, L’Oreal).
Singh is also a fiction writer and poet. He was recently a visiting writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaching poetry. He is the author of 15 books and more than 40 journal articles. Singh, a recipient of numerous writing awards, has given readings of his work at Literature & Arts Festivals all over the world, including The Edinburgh, Cambridge, York, Adelaide, Toronto, and Sydney Festivals.
He has lectured and served as a writer-in-residence at universities in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, UK, USA, India, Philippines, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hungary. In 1997 he was Distinguished International Writer at the world-famous
University of Iowa International Writing Program. In 2005 Professor Singh became the first non-American to be appointed to the American Creativity Association’s Board.
Patricia Foster is the author of All the Lost Girls (memoir), Just Beneath My Skin (personal essays; starred review from Kirkus Reviews) and the editor of Minding the Body and Sister to Sister. She won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Hoepfner Award, and the Dean’s Scholar Award for nonfiction received a Florida Arts Council Award, the Lake Effect Fiction Award, and a Yaddo Fellowship for fiction as well as four Alabama Arts & Humanities grants.
Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Vogue, Chronicle for Higher Education, Glamour, Ploughshares as well as other newspapers and journals.
She’s published both nonfiction and fiction in the Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train and other quarterlies. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and her Ph.D. from Florida State University. She is a professor in the MFA Program in Nonfiction at the University of Iowa and has been an exchange professor in France.