Culture, history & humanities

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. The emerging markets today
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Explore emerging markets in the global economy. Understand economic, political, and cultural dynamics, challenges and strategies for success in evolving markets.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £58.00
  2. The Watergate crisis
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 17 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Dafydd Townley
    This course will examine the short and long-term causes of the Watergate crisis and the Nixon administration’s cover-up and the crisis impact on American politics and society.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £119.00 Senior fee £119.00 Concession £77.00
  3. Ways into creative writing: intensive
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 24 Feb 2025 (and 12 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Erica Buist
    Not 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.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £149.00 Concession £75.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  4. A cultural history of politicians
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Christian Schnee
    What is a politician? How do they operate, which objectives do they pursue, what are the values they embrace and the dynamics they respond to? Join Dr. Christian Schnee to explore these questions!
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  5. Go West!  Exploring West London
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Mon 16 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Diane Burstein
    Via 10 walking tours we explore Shepherds Bush, Brook Green, Notting Hill, Hammersmith, Bedford Park, Barons Court, Earls Court, Fulham, Kensal Green,Cadogan Estate (Chelsea) discovering their history, buildings and past residents.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £162.00
  6. How to read a film: a beginners' guide to cinema
    Course start date:  Mon 13 May 2024 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will develop your critical appreciation of the cinema by teaching you how to read and understand film texts. We will look at the elements that underpin film form – narrative, mise en scène, cinematography, editing and sound – alongside its historical development. We will consider film style by exploring classical, post-classical and art cinema and we will examine influential critical modes of analysis, such as genre, authorship and spectatorship.
    Full fee £149.00 Senior fee £119.00 Concession £97.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  7. City Lit evening reading group
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Sep 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Claire Allen
    Share thoughts and ideas about what you are reading, with books chosen by the group. Please come to the first session with suggestions (contemporary literary fiction in paperback) and having read The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan. Monthly meetings on 23 Sept, 21 Oct, 25 Nov; 13 Jan, 17 Feb, 17 March, 12 May, 9 June, and 7 July.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  8. What makes a masterpiece
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Look at works of art in the Western canon and ask why we consider them to be masterpieces. What formal qualities do they all share, if any, or is our interpretation of a masterpiece largely subjective?



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £249.00 Concession £162.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  9. Key Texts of 20th and 21st century drama: Harley Granville Barker, Tom Stoppard, Lucy Prebble
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Jenny Stevens
    This course will explore the concerns, styles and influences of three dramatic texts from the 20th and 21st centuries and how they reflect the social, political and cultural conditions in which they were written. It focuses primarily on Harley Granville Barker’s Waste, Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, and Lucy Prebble’s The Effect, making multiple connections between them as the course progresses.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £162.00
  10. 50 films from the 50s: Hollywood's last stand
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Sep 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    The 1950s was the beginning of the end for the Hollywood studio era, a golden age in place since the 1920s. The fifties are more difficult to pin down than the 1930/40s due to explosive diversity in both subject matter and cinematic technology, the profound influence of WWII, the development of European neorealism and the first signs of the French New Wave. An emphasis on teen culture emerged, represented by the brief career of James Dean. Film stars became anti-heroes. The moguls who founded Hollywood began to disappear. The studio business model was doomed. Hollywood reacted both defensively and creatively, going for broke—and producing some of the finest and most enduring films in its history, films that transformed the culture, from Sunset Blvd. (1950) to Some Like It Hot (1959)—both by Billy Wilder. From The Asphalt Jungle (1950) to The Misfits (1961)— Marilyn Monroe’s first and final films, both directed by John Huston. From Here To Eternity (1953 Fred Zinnemann) to A Place in the Sun (1951 George Stevens, part of his American trilogy). Fifties’ films reflected a darkening America. (See related courses on Fifties Musicals, Melodrama and Film Noir).
    Full fee £229.00 Senior fee £229.00 Concession £149.00
  11. The Book of Love: great novels of love and passion
    Course start date:  Mon 23 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Julian Birkett
    Many of the world's greatest books – as well as many of the worst - have taken romantic love as their theme. Take this opportunity to read some of the very best - novels which explore the complexity, heartbreak and frustration as well as the ecstasy of this most powerful human emotion.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £162.00
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