History, culture & writing - Keeley Street

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.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of long and short courses allowing you to choose between in-person and online learning.

Learn in the centre of London with our in-person courses. Our purpose-built facilities in Covent Garden mean we are ideally located and easy to get to. 

See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, we've got the class for you.


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  1. Figures in British politics and society you need to know!
    Course start date:  Tue 28 May 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Gabriel Olumide Apata
    The aim of this course is to bring to the forefront those, in British politics and society, who may have been confined to the fringes of history, simply been forgotten about, not fully understood or had their stories altered to fit a certain narrative. Curious? Join us to learn more!
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £97.00
  2. The city and the myth: Venice in 20th & 21st century literature
    Course start date:  Fri 31 May 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  David Barnes
    The beautiful city of Venice has attracted writers as diverse as Marcel Proust and Thomas Mann, Ezra Pound and Jeanette Winterson. These writers eulogised Venice as a city of art and culture, praising its gorgeous Gothic palaces and shimmering waters. In this course we look behind the myth, exploring the fascinating and surprising stories behind these Venetian visions.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £119.00 Concession £97.00
  3. Robert Altman: The long goodbye to Hollywood
    Course start date:  Sat 1 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    Robert Altman served a long apprenticeship in movie-making before his great breakthrough , the Korean War comedy M*A*S*H (1969). It became a huge hit and won the Palme d'Or at Cannes, but also established Altman's inimitable use of sound and image, and his gift for handling a repertory company of actors. The 1970s then became Altman's decade, with a string of masterpieces: McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971 revisionist western), The Long Goodbye (1973 revisionist Raymond Chandler), Thieves Like Us (1974 remake of Nicholas Ray’s 1948 They Live By Night), Nashville (1976 completely and absolutely original widescreen mural of America and Hollywood). In the 1980s Altman struggled to fund his work, but he was restored to prominence in 1992 with The Player, an acerbic take on Hollywood. Short Cuts, an inspired adaptation of Raymond Carver, and the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, (2001), underscored his comeback. (See separate but related courses on Once Upon a Time in New Hollywood, Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch and the Coen brothers).
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  4. Marriage and murder: Othello and Macbeth
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    Shakespeare presents us with two visions of marriage, the Macbeths’ longstanding but filled with passion and rivalry, Othello’s fragile and still largely innocent. Macbeth and his wife know each other only too well – Othello and Desdemona barely at all. We the audience become sucked into these marital dramas through the force of Shakespeare’s dazzling imagery, psychological insight and sensational plotting. We’ll be studying the characters, the poetry and the ideas of both plays in detail.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £119.00 Concession £97.00
  5. The beauty of the medieval manuscript
    Course start date:  Thu 6 Jun 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Emma Rose Barber
    It is generally accepted that medieval illuminated manuscripts are very beautiful things. Something to do with all that gold-leaf maybe. While we cannot hold them in class, close-up digital reproduction will allow us to see if they really are as beautiful as we are told. Indeed, are none of them ugly? Join this course to find out.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
  6. Representing nature in early modern Europe
    Course start date:  Fri 7 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Thomas Balfe
    Explore the links between the visual image and ideas of nature in early modernity (c.1500-1750). At this time, tools like the microscope were visualising nature in new ways, changes were afoot in how humans related to animals, and the environments of Asia and the Americas were becoming more familiar to Europeans. We will focus on how artists and skilled artisans engaged with these subjects.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £95.00 Concession £77.00
  7. Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
  8. Superpowers with elephants: the battle of Raphia, 217 BCE
    Course start date:  Sat 8 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Michael Bloomfield
    The decisive battle fought at Raphia in 217 B.C. between the two Hellenistic kings Ptolemy IV of Egypt and Antiochus III of Syria saw the clash of armies drawn from across the ancient world, with elephants and cavalry, transforming the world order.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £23.00 Concession £19.00
  9. The lost town of Lundenwic: mid-Saxon London 600-900 CE
    Course start date:  Sat 8 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Stuart Brookes
    Look at the least known episodes in London's history, Lundenwic (AD 600-900) and Lundenburh (AD 900-1000).

    Includes an introductory lecture and guided walk.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
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  10. 20th century design: modern and post-modern
    Course start date:  Sat 8 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Rachel Sanders
    Study the dominant design aesthetics of the twentieth century – its development, successes and fall from popularity. Movements will include Constructivism, the Bauhaus, Pop and Punk. Design practices will include graphics, architecture and furniture. #arthistory #weekendcourse #design #modernism #bauhaus.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00
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