Explore History, Culture & Writing
Explore our extraordinary range of History, Culture and Writing courses and lectures. We offer both introductory and specialist in-depth courses to suit all levels of interest and experience, from ‘How to read a film’ and World literature, to Creative non-fiction writing courses and American history and Politics courses.
Our tutors are experts in their fields and experienced educators; many have published, teach in universities or share their expertise in the media. Tutors share their knowledge and passion through presentations, readings, interactive discussion and exercises, analysis, and other activities.
Many students return to take more courses, telling us they enjoy being part of our City Lit Learning community.
Our popular courses often sell out quickly, so we invite you to browse and book your place now.
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- Chinese history for beginnersCourse start date: Mon 19 Jun 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Louise GreenWant to dip into Chinese history? Join this beginners' course in Chinese History and learn about China's political, social, cultural and economic history, alongside major events of Chinese history.Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £45.00
- Ways into creative writing: an introductionCourse start date: Tue 23 May 2023 (and 3 other dates)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Tasha KavanaghNot sure whether creative writing is for you? Give it a try on one of these fun and supportive short courses covering the basics of fiction and poetry. Increase your confidence and produce work through guided exercises and discussion.Full fee £129.00
- Picture book writingCourse start date: Sat 22 Jul 2023 (and 8 other dates)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Andrew WealeWould you like to write a picture book text for young children? This course is designed for children's writers and for illustrators wishing to write their own stories; a starter course to develop both your ideas and your technique.Full fee £99.00
- Ways into creative writing: intensiveCourse start date: Tue 31 Oct 2023 (and 11 other dates)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Sarah LeipcigerNot sure whether creative writing is for you? Give it a try on one of these fun and supportive short courses covering the basics of fiction and poetry. Increase your confidence and produce work through guided exercises and discussion.Full fee £139.00
- Americans in 20th century Paris: expats in the City of LoveCourse start date: Thu 21 Sep 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Megan BeechFrom the founding fathers to some of the premiere writers, artists, actors, intellectuals, musicians and film makers of the 20th Century, Paris has always been a hotbed for American Expats including Hemingway, Josephine Butler, and James Baldwin. This course looks at the role the city has played for these creatives and what these creatives brought to the city.Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
- Get together and readCourse start date: Thu 4 May 2023 (and 3 other dates)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Claire AllenEnjoy talking with other people about the things you have read? Want to share great stories, poems and drama? Come along and join the conversation. The group is led by a shared reading practitioner trained by The Reader Organisation.Full fee £99.00
- Unreal city: the history of London through literature from 1800 to todayCourse start date: Tue 3 Oct 2023 (and 1 other date)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Sarah WiseFiction writers are often the first to identify and analyse a social phenomenon. We will examine two centuries of London history through the eyes of novelists and poets, from William Blake to Zadie Smith.Full fee £149.00
- Thinking through philosophy: a guideCourse start date: Mon 23 Oct 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Christopher HornerWhat is morality and what is it based on? Is the mind a ghost in the machine?
What can I really know? This is a beginner’s introduction to how philosophy tackles questions like these and many others.Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
- Iranian cinemaCourse start date: Tue 31 Oct 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetIn the 1990s, films by Abbas Kiarostami, Jafar Panahi, Mohsen and Samira Makhmalbaf announced Iranian cinema on the global stage as one of the most exciting national cinemas around. But even now, the history and culture behind these films, as well as the many other masterpieces of Iranian cinema, remain too little-known. This course shall give an overview of the wider story of Iranian cinema.Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
- Ways into advanced film studies: film aestheticsCourse start date: Wed 1 Nov 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Paul SuttonHave you wondered why a film might have moved you so powerfully or why it looked so stunningly beautiful? Have you wanted to know quite how a film was able to communicate its story to you so effectively? If so, then this advanced level film studies course is for you. It aims to explore in depth the language of cinema, the way in which film connects with its spectators at the level of film form, in other words, film aesthetics. Writers and critics have long asked similar questions, as have filmmakers themselves, and we will follow some of the most celebrated in their quest for answers. We will look briefly at how films are made and at the importance of cinematography, editing, mise en scène and sound, before exploring in depth film’s aesthetic qualities. We will think about the importance of history for the development of film form and we will analyse clips and sequences from individual films so as to better approach and understand film aesthetics.Full fee £99.00
- New York '80s cultureCourse start date: Thu 2 Nov 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Megan BeechThis course will introduce you to the New York of the 1980s where art, music, theatre, fashion and nightlife were combining and the finest young artists Haring and Basquiat, Blondie and Grandmaster Flash, graffiti and punk. We will explore how different artistic movements informed each other in the period and how the forces of gentrification and increasing control by the City made these kinds of collaboration less possible.Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
- Cultureplex ciné-Club: Jean-Luc GodardCourse start date: Tue 7 Nov 2023
Location on this date: Keeley StreetCome and join us at the Cultureplex Ciné-Club: Jean-Luc Godard, where once a week, for 6 weeks, we will watch and discuss films by this iconic and influential filmmaker. An offshoot of our existing Cultureplex Ciné-Club courses and taking its cue from the famous Parisian ciné-club set up by the celebrated critic and writer, André Bazin, this incarnation of the film club will offer a curated series of Jean-Luc Godard’s films for detailed study, discussion and debate. Each film will be introduced, placed in both its cinematic, cultural and historic context as well as being situated within the Godardian oevure. In sharing our viewing in City Lit’s premier screening room, the Cultureplex, we will approximate the experience of watching film in the cinema, one that is intense and fully focussed in a way that other modes of viewing often are not. After the screening we will devote the rest of the class to a collective exploration of the film, led by the tutor, but involving everyone in a participatory discussion that will allow all to express their responses, their views, their thoughts on the film screened.Full fee £99.00
- Ways into advanced film studies: film historyCourse start date: Tue 9 Jan 2024
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Paul SuttonThe history of the cinema is a rich, rewarding and dynamic area of study. Cinema, because it is both an art form and an industrial product, can be studied from several different historical perspectives. These have included investigations into the history of technological development associated with cinema’s origins and its subsequent development, but historians have also explored its evolution into an art form. They have written about important individual figures or influential groups and have examined specific films in great detail. Historians have also examined the national, cultural, political and social contexts that might offer insight into the cinema at a given historical moment. They have examined the changing demographic and viewing habits of spectators and explored the mutability of cinemas themselves. With so much to consider and so many different approaches to take, the history of cinema continues to evolve. As such this advanced level film studies course will explore what it means to study film history, examine the various methodologies that one might take, while at the same time looking at relevant filmic and cinematic examples.Full fee £99.00
- Reading images: exploring film studiesCourse start date: Wed 31 May 2023 (and 2 other dates)
Location on this date: Keeley StreetTutors: Cristina MassaccesiThis comprehensive introductory course provides an overview of the main historical, technical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking and film analysis. In its exploration of aspects of film theory as it relates to film aesthetics and film history, the course develops certain ideas with rigour and depth.Full fee £99.00
- Accelerating cultures: technology and form from the 19th century to nowCourse start date: Mon 15 Jan 2024
Location on this date: Keeley StreetDo you ever get the sense that things are constantly speeding up? Well, you’re not the only one! Since industrialisation, writers and artists have explored the accelerating effect of technological advancement. From the new perceptions of space and time produced by the railways to Marinetti’s Manifesto of Futurism, art and culture has always been in dialogue with new technologies, and the new subjective experiences they produce has likewise influenced literary and artistic form. In this course we will explore a range of materials (literature, art, photography, film) from the last 200 years to consider how cultural representations of gathering speed continue to help us to negotiate the now.Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
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