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.

Courses available both in-person and online

We offer a range of courses allowing you to choose between online and in-person learning. All our courses are live, interactive, and taught by expert tutors. No matter how you prefer to learn, you’ll receive the same great City Lit experience. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online 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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  1. Nostalgia Cinema: the return of the 50s and 80s
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 28 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ann-Marie Fleming
    In the 1970s, nostalgia became commercialised. Most notably, cinema looked to the fifties for material. This cinematic version of the era has a recognisable aesthetic. This course looks at how and why the past is recalled in cinema. Additionally, the course discusses the theory of nostalgia and how it changed throughout the 20th century.



    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 £99.00 Concession £60.00
  2. Movements in art: Surrealism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Explore the art and artists of Surrealism from their origins in the political and psychological upheaval of Post-World War I Paris to their widespread influence on 20th century art and culture.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £42.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  3. Origins of the Goddess in Ancient India
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vaughan Pilikian
    The Goddess is a figure of great mystery in premodern India. Mostly absent in the ancient period, she arises seemingly from nowhere to become Shakti, a dangerous and powerful divinity of central importance in medieval Shaivism. How might we begin to explain her origins? It seems that there may be evidence for a goddess cult in the material traces of the Indus Valley civilisation that predates the establishment of Vedic society. Might the Goddess be part of a Dravidian tradition of very great antiquity that somehow infiltrated the Indo-European? Or is her absence from our earliest textual sources overstated? Is it not the Goddess who appears as Night in the middle of the Mahabharata when the Kaurava warrior Ashvatthaman is about to slaughter his enemies in their sleep? And might the obscure and troubling ritual of the Ashvamedha shed some light on the sacred significance of female agency in the maintenance of Vedic sovereignty? This lecture will seek to address some of these challenging but fascinating questions.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  4. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on writing
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Historical fiction about the Greek and Roman worlds is perennially popular with readers, and with the releases of books like Circe, The Children of Jocasta, and Electra, the new sub-genre of fiction exploring myths and legends has never been stronger. How are the female figures of these stories presented as relevant and accessible? And, for writers of historical fiction, how do we write accounts of these women in ways that draw out interesting new facets of their myths, or let readers see female figures they know already as if for the first time?



    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
  5. Etruscan, Greek and Roman Goddesses
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  William Sterling
    An examination of how the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans viewed and worshipped goddesses - the similarities and differences and how they influenced each other.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  6. Focus on: Cornelia Parker
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Discover the work of Cornelia Parker, one of the most engagingly inventive contemporary artists working in Britain today. Turner Prize nominee and Royal Academician, her multi-disciplinary practice embraces sculpture, installation, embroidery, photography and printmaking.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £42.00
  7. Ways into poetry: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 17 May 2022 (and 7 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Billie Manning
    Are you just starting to write poetry? This inspiring short course offers an opportunity to experiment with language and a variety of poetic devices. Discover the key elements of a poem in a friendly and interactive class.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £44.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  8. Greek myths: ancient truths, modern mystery
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 12 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Maria Contos
    Myth permeated all aspects of ancient society and much the same can be said today. Investigate the relevance and perseverance of the Greek myth and why these tales continue to fascinate.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £59.00 Concession £36.00
    Rating:
    80% of 100
  9. Ways into creative writing: an introduction
    Course start date:  Tue 14 Jun 2022 (and 14 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    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.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £36.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  10. Aesop's fables: an introduction
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 19 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Maria Contos
    Aesop’s fables have been used through history to clarify important issues within society. Investigate their perseverance through history and why they continue to be relevant today.



    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 £39.00 Concession £30.00
  11. Playwriting: a taster
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 13 Sep 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Rose Biggin
    Give playwriting a try in this fun and supportive one-off taster session. Ideal if you want to unlock your imagination and express yourself, but need a bit of encouragement 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 £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  12. Writing and rewriting fairytales
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 23 Jul 2022 (and 4 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Helen Cox
    Once upon a time there was a City Lit workshop led by an author who loved fairytales. Her quest: to inspire writers to pen stories of love, fear, forests, revenge, dragons, witches, kings, queens, frogs and magic.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £28.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  13. Creative non-fiction: a taster
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 6 Dec 2022 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Julie Garton
    Have you had experiences that will move, delight or entertain readers? This taster session in creative-non fiction explores approaches to capturing your most poignant moments and crafting them into inspiring pieces of literature.



    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
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  14. Art history taster
    Course start date:  Mon 12 Sep 2022 (and 15 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (other locations are available)

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Curious about art history? Join us for this taster session where we explore different ways into visual art and its histories, from the ancient to the contemporary.



    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 £8.00 Concession £7.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  15. In the footsteps of London's rebels
    Course start date:  Tue 13 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Mixed Mode (Online and In Person)

    Tutors:  David Rosenberg
    Explore London's places of protest and discover the stories of radicals, agitators and campaigners who fought for social justice, equal rights and better lives for all from the 1830s to the 1930s.



    The first and the last sessions will be delivered via zoom. The other 8 sessions are guided walks.



    This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £125.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100

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