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. Contemporary cinema: the best films of the year
    Course start date:  Mon 8 Jan 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    This course on contemporary/current cinema crucially coincides with the wide variety of films released during Bafta/Oscars awards season. It provides a weekly ‘what’s on’ of new releases. The first session is a wide-ranging discussion and debate about favourite films of the past year, from which emerges a definitive student list of best films, modified as we view and review current films week-by-week. This course is now more timely than ever as we continue to support cinema-going. The course meets in City Lit’s own Cultureplex cinema at Keeley Street.
    Full fee £199.00 Senior fee £199.00 Concession £129.00
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  2. Cultureplex ciné-club
    Course start date:  Thu 21 Sep 2023 (and 2 other dates)

    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 £199.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £129.00
  3. The alternative greatest films ever: The Sight & Sound and student poll
    Course start date:  Mon 22 Apr 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    This is a stand-alone companion course to the Autumn ’23 course on the Sight and Sound Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. The first reactions to the Sight and Sound Poll 2022 were divisive, as completely expected, when certain 21st-century films made the list and other venerated classics were dropped (see topics below for the list). As interesting as the top 100 was to discuss, we wanted to look a bit deeper to see how the reception of certain films shifted over the last decade, with a rundown of the films that were added and those removed. Be assured, they are as enjoyable as the Top 100—perhaps even more so. In addition to viewing the films that were added or dropped, students will conduct their own poll of the Greatest Films of All Time. Enjoy either or both of these complementary courses.
    Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00
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