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. Cultureplex ciné-club 2
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 26 Sep 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Come and join us at the Cultureplex Ciné-Club 2, where once a week, for 12 weeks (and throughout the academic year), we will watch and discuss film. Taking its cue from the famous Parisian ciné-club set up by the celebrated critic and writer, André Bazin, ‘the single thinker most responsible for bestowing on cinema the prestige both of an artform and of an object of knowledge’, and the man who foresaw the emergence of film studies as a legitimate discipline of academic study, our contemporary incarnation of the film club will offer a curated series of films for detailed study, discussion and debate. Each film will be introduced, placed in both its cinematic, cultural and historic context. 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.







    Please note that this course will screen a new and different set of films to HF211 Cultureplex Ciné-Club, which will run with the same films screened last year. If you took the Cultureplex Ciné-Club course last year (2022-23), please ensure that you take the Cultureplex Ciné-Club 2 courses this year.
    Full fee £249.00 Senior fee £249.00 Concession £162.00
  2. Exploring literature: an introduction to prose and poetry
    Course start date:  Thu 26 Sep 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Kate Wilkinson
    This course introduces you to a range of prose and poetry from the nineteenth century to the present. Learn about how poems work, both ‘on the page’ and as spoken words. Reading novels and short stories, we’ll explore characterisation, the social and historical contexts of the works and writers’ techniques. Come and discover what’s distinctive about different forms of literature.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  3. Cultureplex ciné-club
    Course start date:  Thu 26 Sep 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Come and join us at the Cultureplex Ciné-Club, where once a week, for 12 weeks (and throughout the academic year), we will watch and discuss film. Taking its cue from the famous Parisian ciné-club set up by the celebrated critic and writer, André Bazin, ‘the single thinker most responsible for bestowing on cinema the prestige both of an artform and of an object of knowledge’, and the man who foresaw the emergence of film studies as a legitimate discipline of academic study, our contemporary incarnation of the film club will offer a curated series of films for detailed study, discussion and debate. Each film will be introduced, placed in both its cinematic, cultural and historic context. 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 £249.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £162.00
  4. Romanesque art, culture and society
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Andreas Petzold
    The Romanesque is the first international style since antiquity, and one of the most inventive and creative periods in the history of art. The course takes a thematic approach to this fascinating period and provides an introduction to the main themes and works of art and architecture from this period; it is based on the tutor's book 'Romanesque Art.'.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  5. Textiles: an international history
    Course start date:  Thu 3 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    As well as expressing power, prestige and fulfilling symbolic functions, textiles have been intimately linked to the everyday lives of members all societies for millennia. On this course you will study the development of woven, printed and embroidered textiles of many kinds from around the globe and explore the significant roles they have played in the world’s material culture.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £143.00 Concession £116.00
  6. Space Crones and Sci-Fi Worlds
    Course start date:  Thu 10 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Katie Goss
    This literature course focuses on the importance of science fiction writing as both a literary form and a mode of theorising the world we inhabit, and radically transforming our ways of interpreting it. Alongside the work of eminent sci-fi writers, including Ursula Le Guin, Octavia Butler and Ted Chiang, we’ll also consider literary theories of the fantastic and the kinds of contexts their texts have been addressed to. Across six weeks we will explore how works of science fiction enrich psychic, social and cultural life and help us grapple with the complex politics of the present.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  7. The seminars of Michel Foucault
    Course start date:  Thu 17 Oct 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Daniel Weizman
    We explore Michel Foucault's public lectures at the Collège de France, introducing key concepts such as genealogy, governmentality, and biopolitics. Through Foucault's lens, we critically navigate debates on truth, social engineering, and politics in turbulent times.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  8. Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £169.00 Concession £110.00
  9. Fifties film and television: Hollywood's last stand as TV begins
    Evening
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Nov 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    This is the decade when television really took off, when I Love Lucy premiered on a Monday night in October 1951, followed by Milton Berle as “Mr. Television” on Tuesdays. Everyone went out to buy a TV set. How could Hollywood compete with this free home entertainment? Biblical epics and Ben-Hur was one answer. On the Waterfront (1954) to Some Like It Hot (1959) was another. The fifties was the beginning of the end for the business model of the studio-era, a golden age in place since the 1920s. However,



    Hollywood reacted by producing some of the finest and most enduring films in its history as it slowly began to find newer, younger audiences for James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Coming-of-age indeed! So was television, as it produced some of its finest programmes. It seemed like every week a new show or a new genre: Sgt. Bilco, Playhouse 90, Edward R. Murrow, Walt Disney Presents, Route 66—and all in prime time.



    (Also see related courses on 50s Westerns, Musicals and Film Noir).



    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
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