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 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. Image and identity: 20th century Chinese art and cinema
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Meitao Qu
    Explore the art of Chinese artists and filmmakers from the turn of the 20th century to the turn of the 21st, as they try to make sense of a world on the cusp between the old and the new, marked by encounters with imperialism and iconoclasm. Learn what place art had in socio-political movements, and how it reflected the hopes and anxieties of its time.



    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 £71.00
  2. Ways into creative writing: a gentle pace
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Feb 2023 (and 2 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Tasha Kavanagh
    Are you brand new to creative writing? Do you want to build your confidence in a supportive environment alongside other beginners? This gentle short-course guides students taking their first steps on the path to becoming a creative writer.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  3. Lunchtime lecture: Winter Sun: Nancy Holt's land art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Join us for an introduction to the work of Nancy Holt, one of the foundational figures of the land art movement.



    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
  4. The Odyssey reading group (in translation)
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Homer’s epic tale of Odysseus’ journey home after the Trojan War may now be over 2,500 years old but it still has much to tell us about the Ancient Greek world that is still relevant today. Explore this great work in translation.



    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:
    84% of 100
  5. Creative non-fiction: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 2 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Lucy Popescu
    This short introductory course explores the core elements of creative non-fiction across genres such as travel writing, the personal essay and life writing.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  6. Introduction to journalism
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Susan Grossman
    On this course students will explore the basic skills a freelance journalist needs to write and sell news and features to newspapers and magazines. From developing ideas and identifying outlets to interview skills and approaching editors.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    96% of 100
  7. The City of London: the Square Mile
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Paul Sinclair
    Explore the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Discover how London recovered from one of the great disasters and became a centre of commerce and the heart of a great empire. We follow in the steps of some of its best known characters like Doctor Johnson and Samuel Pepys and some lesser known including William Lilley and Thomas Chatterton. The course follows on from the HLW06 The City of London: the square mile, but new students are welcome. The first meeting place is Monument station, Fish Street Hill exit.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £85.00
  8. Ways into creative writing: an introduction
    Evening
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Feb 2023 (and 6 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Rebecca Ferrier
    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 £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  9. Arts of the golden age of the Ottoman Empire
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anita Chowdry
    Looking at how the vision of the Ottoman Sultans was crafted from diverse sources during a period of maximum growth, this course will focus on the architecture, arts and crafts of the early Ottoman Empire.



    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 £87.00 Concession £71.00
  10. The philosophical Hamlet: life, death and everything in between
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Borna Radnik
    Can we ever escape our past? Can we act to change our future? This course examines various philosophical themes through engagement with different philosophical traditions and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.



    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 £50.00
  11. Curating and collecting contemporary art in the UK
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Have you ever wondered how works of art and cultural objects have been collected for public museums and galleries in Britain? Who collected these objects? What functions have public collections played in society? Why ‘collect for the nation’?
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00
  12. That's entertainment
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Rachel Kolsky
    This series of walks profiles entertainment in London, past and present. Discover the theatrical and musical heritage of Soho, Covent Garden, Camden and Marylebone together with London landmarks used as popular film locations.



    22nd February : Beatles London - inside Marylebone Station near the tube entrance



    1st March : Theatreland - outside Covent Garden tube, on Long Acre on corner of Neal Street



    8th March: Musical Soho - outside Dominion Tottenham Court Road



    15th March: London on Film - outside Barbican tube.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £71.00 Concession £45.00
  13. The Golden Age of US Television: 1950s
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Paul Rixon
    This course explores what, for many critics, was the first golden age of US television in the 1950s. For the critics the live anthologies drama series which appeared at this time, such as Kraft Theatre, came to offer acclaimed single plays including Marty (1953) and Twelve Angry Men (1954), by writers such as Paddy Chayefsky and Gore Vidal. For critics, these were a form of well-crafted, intense, claustrophobic television dramas. By the early 1960s these dramas had been replaced by filmed series and serials.



    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
  14. Renaissance art: making, locating and viewing
    Course start date:  Wed 22 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Emma Rose Barber
    This course explores the Making, the Locating and the Viewing of Renaissance paintings in the collection of the National Gallery. This course takes place at the National Gallery.
    Full fee £169.00 Senior fee £135.00 Concession £110.00
  15. Exploring East Asian cinema
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 1 Mar 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    This course introduces you to the cinema of Japan, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. We will consider the history and development of cinema in the region, its key films, filmmakers and movements, and a range of representative genres and film styles, while also thinking about its international critical reception and cultural function as both national and transnational cinema.



    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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