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. Being and empathy: the philosophy of Edith Stein
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 3 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Goff
    This course aims to make Stein’s thought more familiar by examining her contribution to a philosophical-phenomenological understanding of faith and religion.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  2. German Expressionism: From Horror to Film Noir
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 3 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    German Expressionism influenced Hollywood horror after itself being influenced by early Swedish Nordic noir. Along with F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene, Fritz Lang was one of the key figures of German Expressionist cinema. Their influence crossed borders and is alive today in cinema tropes, camera techniques and narrative themes still used by filmmakers, game designers and artists. Their films changed moviemaking forever as directors and set designers created a nightmare environment of unnatural perspectives and distorted images in early films such as Nosferatu (1922 F.W. Murnau), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919 Robert Weine), and Metropolis (1927 Fritz Lang) which led to Dracula (1931 Tod Browning), Spellbound (1945 Alfred Hitchcock) and Blade Runner (1982 Ridley Scott). American pulp fiction shaded this into film noir in The Killers (1946 Robert Siodmak) and Double Indemnity (1944 Billy Wilder), films created by directors who had fled the land of German Expression. It had come full circle.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
    Rating:
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  3. The British empire in sub-Saharan Africa
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 17 Feb 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  James Stannard
    From transatlantic slavery to the fall of apartheid, this course examines Britain’s major projects and legacies in sub-Saharan Africa.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £99.00
  4. Introduction to Film Spectatorship
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will provide a brief introduction to the history of film spectatorship, tracing its origins in the silent era up to the present day. The course will explore a number of films in detail, includingThe Truman Show (Peter Weir 1998 US), Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore 1998 Italy), The Matrix (Wachowskis 1999 US) and others.
    Full fee £59.00
  5. Picture book writing
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023 (and 9 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 £129.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  6. Philosophy of religion
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Philosophy of religion is where philosophical methods meet far-reaching religious doctrines. Join this introductory course to explore some of the big questions that go to the very essence of what it means to be human.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  7. The lost town of Lundenwic: mid-Saxon London 600-900 CE
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 10 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Stuart Brookes
    Look at the least known episodes in London's history, Lundenwic (AD 600-900) and Lundenburh (AD 900-1000).



    Includes an introductory lecture and a guided walk.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  8. A taste of creative writing
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 27 May 2023 (and 3 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    Give creative writing a try on this fun and supportive online short course. Ideal if you want to express yourself but need help in getting started. Guided exercises will encourage you to experiment and unlock your imagination. Please note: this course has a 2-hr break from 12:30-14:30.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  9. The gritty studio: The rise of Warner Bros.
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 17 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Ann-Marie Fleming
    In the Golden Age of Hollywood there was one studio that promised grit over glamour. That studio was Warner Bros. In this course, we will examine how the studio felt the need to educate their audience and opt for stories that were both edgy and rooted in headlines of the time. The course will explore Warner Bros. style, narrative and stars.



    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 £47.00 Concession £38.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  10. Up close and personal with Greek archaeological treasures
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 17 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Anke Marsh
    Discover stunning objects from ancient Greece and the evidence they provide for the lives of ancient people. Spend the afternoon having a close look at the British Museum's collection.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
  11. Not drowning but waving: Edith Sitwell, Stevie Smith and Lorraine Mariner
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 17 Jun 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Laurie Smith
    We explore poems written by three highly original English women poets. Their styles of writing are unique as they respond to the stresses of their lives, and to their position as women, with wit and humour. Their resilience shows them as the reverse of Smith’s famous line ‘Not waving but drowning’.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £55.00 Concession £45.00
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