History, culture & writing

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. Sanctuary in the city – public art by refugees and immigrants
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 4 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Marilyn Greene
    Come on a walking tour of public art through the City of London created by Refugees and Immigrants. We will explore artworks such as the 17th century carvings on the Monument and a Victorian plaques relocated on to the post Modern Number One Poultry by economic immigrants to the country as well as looking at mainly works by 20th century artists from refugee backgrounds who were either commissioned to make art works for site specific places or their works have been bought or moved to their locations.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  2. Superpowers with elephants: the battle of Raphia, 217 BCE
    Weekend
    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
  3. War and peace in Roman love poetry
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nikoletta Manioti
    Roman love poets are proponents of peace as the condition where love can flourish. However, war permeates their poetry and is even turned into one of its characteristic motifs, the "campaign of love". This lecture will offer an overview of the themes of war and peace, with specific reference to the poems of Tibullus, Propertius, and Ovid.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £29.00 Senior fee £29.00 Concession £19.00
  4. Paintings of peace and war: Rubens's creative take on the Classical world
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    We shall see how Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1557-1640) combined his passion for the classical past with his role as diplomat and peacemaker. By examining two allegorical works by the artist, we will investigate how he used mythological figures from the ancient world to comment on his fears of escalating war and in his hopes for negotiating peace in contemporary 17th century Europe.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  5. Lunchtime lecture: Yoko Ono - viewer as participant
    Course start date:  Wed 12 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Get to know the art of Yoko Ono from performance art to installation. We explore how the artist works in collaboration with the participant to create communal art for all.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £7.00
  6. War and peace in the art of Napoleonic France
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    The course explores the theme of war and peace in the age of Napoleon by looking at paintings and sculptural works produced or exhibited in France during this period.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  7. 'The future is now': an introduction to video art
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Irina Chkhaidze
    Explore the early history of video art, its rise as a medium and its significance as a contemporary art practice. We focus on the influential video works from the 1960s-1980s.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £49.00 Concession £32.00
  8. Memory politics in war and peace: recent and contemporary cases
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 13 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Martin Jorgensen
    Want to think more about the role of memory politics in relation to war and peace? Join this session to get started!



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  9. Friday lates: Agnes Martin - pioneer, painter, icon
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 14 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Henry Martin
    This course examines the unconventional life and artworks of Agnes Martin (1912–2004), regarded as one of the great artists of the Twentieth Century. Topics covered include Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, LGBTQ artists, and the role of the biography in Art History.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  10. Aubrey Beardsley and the art of queer decadence
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Discover the subversive and wildly successful art of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. Explore his illustrations and how his depictions of gender challenged the status quo of late Victorian Britain.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £7.00
  11. Friday lates: Pacific portraits - British artists, Pacific sitters and their impact on 18th century portraiture
    Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 21 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    From Joshua Reynold's portrait of Omai to portraits made during the voyages of Captain James Cook, discover how encounters with Pacific Islanders changed the course of British eighteenth-century.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  12. Snapshot Queers: Nan Goldin and Wolfgang Tillmans
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 25 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Henry Martin
    This course explores how photographers Nan Goldin (b. 1953) and Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) employ the aesthetic of the snapshot to document queer communities, with a focus on their early careers and unique installation and photographic practices.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £7.00
  13. Homosexuality in Greek vascular painting
    Course start date:  Thu 27 Jun 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Simone Chisena
    Discover the ways in which homoeroticism found its way onto Ancient Greek vases and how its depiction flourished in the ancient world.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  14. Lunchtime lecture: Van Gogh's art history
    Course start date:  Mon 8 Jul 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    What influenced the art of Vincent van Gogh? From 17th century Dutch still lives to symbolist poetry, Japanese prints and French realist painting we explore how van Gogh’s study of art history shaped his art practice and subject matter.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
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