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. Movements in art: Post-Impressionism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Seurat are all called Post-Impressionists, yet each had different styles and preoccupations. Explore their work and lives and learn why they left such a valuable legacy.



    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:
    93% of 100
  2. Olympias: Feminine Power in Ancient Macedon
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Daniel Unruh
    The Macedonian queen Olympias was a famous figure in the ancient world. First and foremost, she was remembered as the wife of King Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of southern Greece, and the mother of King Alexander III of Macedon, known to history as Alexander the Great. But Olympias' identity goes far beyond wife and mother. The stories that have come down to us show her as a brilliant politician, a follower of strange religious rites, and even a general leading armies in the field. Some even represent her as the lover of a god!



    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
  3. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on reading
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 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
  4. European history taster: The Eastern Question: the Great (European) Powers and the Ottoman Empire, 1768-1914
    Last Few Places, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sebastien Ardouin
    For a century and a half, the relations between the Great Powers (Britain, Russia, Austria, France, Prussia - later Germany) were largely shaped by the Eastern Question, that is to say the question of the future of the Ottoman Empire as it faced increasing threats to its integrity. In this class, after a rapid survey of the interests of the Great Powers in Ottoman lands, we will focus on the moment when the Eastern Question erupted on the international stage, the 1768-74 Russo-Ottoman War, and its consequences.



    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. Ways into creative writing: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Feb 2023 (and 14 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online (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.



    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 £36.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  6. Picture book writing
    Course start date:  Mon 6 Jun 2022 (and 11 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Andrew Weale
    Would you like to write a picture book text for young children? This course is designed for children's writers and for illustrators wishing to write their own stories; a starter course to develop both your ideas and your technique.



    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 £40.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  7. Movements in art: Cubism and Futurism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 18 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Collier
    Cubism and Futurism are pivotal movements in the history of modern art – encapsulating all the promise and peril of the 20th century’s devastating birth, and even helping rewrite perceptions of space and time.



    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:
    80% of 100
  8. Playwriting: a taster
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 5 Dec 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
  9. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022 (and 2 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Sarah Wise
    We will explore various themes related to insanity and altered states of consciousness by examining a number of 19th-century works of fiction. Novelists and poets often had the greatest insights into the workings of the mind, and many Victorian psychiatrists cited works of fiction in their case studies. Among the authors we will cover are Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Gogol, Herman Melville and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.



    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
  10. Taster: Meet the Victorians
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 5 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ellen Carpenter
    Join us for a taster session in which we will explore the complex, enquiring and sometimes contradictory world of the Victorians, whose science, engineering, and development of industrial innovations changed the landscapes of Britain and the lives of its people.



    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
  11. 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
  12. Writing fiction
    Course start date:  Mon 25 Apr 2022 (and 12 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Jonathan Barnes
    Lovers of fiction can develop their creative writing skills on this practical intermediate course. You'll explore the fundamentals of fiction writing craft such as character and structure, and unlock your imagination to produce compelling prose. Suitable for those with some creative writing experience.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £209.00 Senior fee £209.00 Concession £105.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100
  13. Buddhist philosophy
    Course start date:  Mon 19 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Goff
    'Impermanence is the root of human suffering.' Over hundreds of years a highly developed philosophy grew from this simple idea. However, one does not need to adopt a religious outlook to benefit from Buddhist philosophy.
    Full fee £259.00 Senior fee £207.00 Concession £130.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  14. The Whole Story of Cinema
    Course start date:  Mon 19 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    If you love cinema and want to know more about it, look no further. Here is a course for all those who love watching and reading about films, and who want to understand more about the evolution of the art of cinema, as told through the most innovative films from any country in any period. From film’s origins to modern day streaming, and through many cinematic golden ages, this course will examine those moments in time when a range of national cinemas surfed the wave of creative originality, achieved through a mix of social, technical, and historical factors. The exploration of key films and genres will reveal insights into the world of film-making, from cinematography, lighting, and sound, to editing and acting styles, enabling you to better interpret the meaning of world-famous movies.
    Full fee £259.00 Senior fee £207.00 Concession £168.00
  15. Understanding contemporary art: ideas and origins
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 19 Sep 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Christopher Collier
    Ever wondered what's going on in the mind of contemporary artists? This course explores the ideas and historical background behind some of today’s most intriguing works, from Conceptualism and Video to Body Art and Installation.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100

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