Social Work CEU: Creative Writing Workshop

Jul 17, 2020

All Day

North Hall, 332

20 Davenport Street, Iowa City, IA 52245

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Creative Writing for Social Workers

The University of Iowa is known nationally as "The Writing University," and our institution boasts a rich tradition of great writing and an early and enduring commitment to the creative arts. Iowa’s tradition of writing has been guided by the principle that, though writing is a solitary practice, it’s one significantly enriched by the presence of other writers. There has also been a growing focus in recent years on how writing and language are critical in so many other professions and pursuits beyond the purely literary. 

It's fitting, then, that we continue to offer an annual opportunity for social workers and other helping professionals to gather in a workshop space for an intensive experience to work on their writing craft and learn how it can be leveraged, both in practice and in reflective self-care.

The seminar meets 6 hours daily, Friday through Monday on The University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. Each day includes a mixture of presentations from invited guests, writing instruction and practice, and peer critiques of participants’ work. Several hours are reserved for individual coaching sessions with the lead instructor. Participants may be beginners or experienced--and sometimes even published--writers. Most participants have not previously attended a writing workshop, or even thought of themselves as writers. Diversity of experience, and an active interest and curiosity about the possibilities inherent in creative writing, are the essential ingredients for a fresh and exciting workshop experience.

The learning objectives are:
    — Improve creative writing skill in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, blogs etc.
    — Understand how writing can be used as a professional tool in human services work as counselors, educators, advocates, researchers, and practitioners.

Ellen Szabo, M.Ed. is the primary writing instructor for the course. She is the founder of Szabo Creative Consulting, promoting the use of creative writing for personal investigation, enrichment and social change. She earned her B.A. from Harvard College, with a concentration in English and American Literature, and her M.Ed. from Columbia University Teacher’s College, in Counseling Psychology.  She writes and teaches with focus on how innovation and creativity can illuminate, inspire and advocate compassionate transformation.

Guest speakers will share experiences with projects related to creative writing for social change,  journaling for personal growth, and/or the written word as a tool for enhancing social justice.

The seminar is coordinated by Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW, MA.  Dr. Bern-Klug is on the faculty in the School of Social Work and is Director of  Aging & Longevity Studies Program. For more information, contact Jen Knights at 319-335-3750 or email jen-knights@uiowa.edu

For information about lodging available in Iowa City, visit https://www.thinkiowacity.com/ or get in touch with us for personal recommendations. For those wanting to truly immerse in Iowa City's writing life, consider staying at the Iowa Writers House, which is just a few blocks away from North Hall, where our workshop takes place!

CLASS IS LIMITED TO 12 PARTICIPANTS. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Jen Knights in advance at jen-knights@uiowa.edu.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at

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