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 online and in-person learning. 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. See our guide to online learning for more information about accessing our live online courses.

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  1. Global maritime trade from 1500 to the present
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 4 Oct 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Maisa Edwards
    Want to explore the creation and shaping of major trade routes in the North and South Atlantic, the Indian and Pacific Oceans? Join us to consider their history, economics and defence systems.



    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 £79.00 Concession £64.00
  2. Picture book writing
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 14 Feb 2024 (and 7 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    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 £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £70.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  3. Ways into advanced film studies: film aesthetics
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Nov 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    Have you wondered why a film might have moved you so powerfully or why it looked so stunningly beautiful? Have you wanted to know quite how a film was able to communicate its story to you so effectively? If so, then this advanced level film studies course is for you. It aims to explore in depth the language of cinema, the way in which film connects with its spectators at the level of film form, in other words, film aesthetics. Writers and critics have long asked similar questions, as have filmmakers themselves, and we will follow some of the most celebrated in their quest for answers. We will look briefly at how films are made and at the importance of cinematography, editing, mise en scène and sound, before exploring in depth film’s aesthetic qualities. We will think about the importance of history for the development of film form and we will analyse clips and sequences from individual films so as to better approach and understand film aesthetics.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  4. Hitchcock's American films
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Nov 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Hitchcock's American period saw his most spectacular work, a body of films that cemented his reputation not only as the 'master of suspense' but as a major filmmaker, one whose work includes some of cinema's most popular and critically admired films. This course explores Hitchcock's Hollywood career, the films, their production and their reception, while also assessing his critical reputation.



    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 £64.00
  5. From the Arab Spring to the Arab Winter: Causes, Legacies and Prospects
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Nov 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Angelos Sepos
    The 2011 Arab Spring was an unprecedented event in the history of the Arab World with much promise for the people of the region. Why has it become an Arab Winter?



    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 £79.00 Concession £64.00
  6. Reading images: exploring film studies
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 10 Jan 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Cristina Massaccesi
    This comprehensive introductory course provides an overview of the main historical, technical and theoretical aspects of filmmaking and film analysis.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  7. The Stalin Regime: 1928-1941
    Course start date:  Wed 10 Jan 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nick Morgan
    This is an introduction to the history of the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union between 1928 and 1941. Students will learn about key events during the Stalin years and how historians approach them.



    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 £64.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  8. Introduction to the philosophy of religion
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 14 Feb 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Kate Banks
    This course will provide an introduction to philosophical methods, definitions of terminology, and a broad overview of the history of philosophy of religion.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00
  9. Ways of reading: aspects of narrative theory
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 19 Jun 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jenny Stevens
    What do we mean by ‘literary fiction’? What expectations do we bring to the novels we read? Do we really ‘escape’ when we enter fictional worlds? These are just some of the questions addressed in a course which focuses on the analysis of prose fiction. Reading texts as short as one-sentence ‘flash fiction’ to complete short stories, it engages with writing from a wide range of periods and authors, paying close attention to narrative techniques and their effects.



    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 £64.00
  10. Exploring horror cinema
    Course start date:  Wed 28 Feb 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Explore the horror film through a range of key films, concepts and critical accounts of the genre. In doing so, we will consider its history and development and the ways in which different production contexts, for example, American, European and East Asian horror cinemas, have given rise to significant variations within the genre, with each having distinctive styles, themes and film 'cycles'.



    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 £64.00
  11. Cyborg cultures: hybrid beings and monstrous identities
    Course start date:  Wed 24 Apr 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Katie Goss
    In this course students will be introduced to theories of posthumanism that suggest ways we can embrace ‘monstruous’ identities and ‘mutant’ forms of knowing. Through popular science fiction films and literary texts, we will contemplate the complex coming together and apart of bodies-minds-worlds in contemporary culture and explore experiences of hybridity and metamorphosis.



    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 £64.00
  12. Global history for beginners
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 24 Apr 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Martin Jorgensen
    What is global history? How is it different from other ways of understanding history? This introductory course will give you a sense of what it means to study global history.



    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
  13. Ways into advanced literature: disruptors, transgressors and storytellers
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 22 May 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Patricia Sweeney
    Explore the rewards of close reading analysis, focusing on fiction, drama and the literary essay. Read, analyse and debate works from the mid-twentieth century that challenged the status quo and entered into the debates of the time. Includes 'A Single Man' by Christopher Isherwood, 'A Delicate Balance' by Edward Albee and 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' by Joan Didion.
    Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £99.00 Concession £64.00
  14. Hitchcock's British films
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 20 Sep 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Alfred Hitchcock established his reputation early on in his British career, particularly with a series of thrillers that showcased his distinctive style. This course explores his British films and the factors that helped to shape his filmmaking and, subsequently, his reputation as a major film artist, while also considering his position in, and relationship to British cinema of the 1920s and 1930s.



    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 £64.00
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