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. Exploring literature: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century
    Last Few Places
    Course start date:  Tue 31 Jan 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Niall Culligan
    In this introductory course, we will read and discuss Irish poetry from across the twentieth century, examining how poets responded to cultural and political issues, such as Irish Independence, religion, and the Troubles. Poets will include: W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh, Derek Mahon, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and many others.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    93% of 100
  2. 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
  3. Memories of authoritarian regimes in 20th Century Latin America
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 2 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anna Grimaldi
    This course explores the aftermath of authoritarian and military regimes in Latin America, focusing on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Guatemala.



    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 £55.00
  4. New Nature Writing in fiction and poetry
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 3 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  David Barnes
    In the last 15 years, a new type of nature writing emerged in the UK. It was personal, engaging, and examined the natural world and the environment in fresh and interesting ways. It promised to reconnect a younger generation with the world outside, and to raise awareness of ecological issues in an emotionally resonant way. Includes novels, poetry and memoir by Seamus Heaney, W.G. Sebald, Alice Oswald, Helen Macdonald. Elizabeth-Jane Burnett, Kathleen Jamie.



    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 £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  5. America in the 30s: culture and society
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 7 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mark Malcomson, Mick McAloon, Dale Mineshima-Lowe, Trish Shaw, Patricia Sweeney, Ian Tucknott
    From the Great Depression to the New Deal, from Swing and big band music to gangster films and screwball comedies, this online intertextual course explores the political, social and cultural context of 1930s America through a study of literature, history, music, film and art of the period. With different tutors for each specialism, the course provides a 'taster' in each subject as a gateway to further study in understanding this fascinating period in American culture and society.



    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
  6. Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs: continuation course at the British Museum
    Last Few Places, Evening
    Course start date:  Fri 10 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  The British Museum

    Tutors:  Hugo Cook
    Follow-on course from the Introduction. Presented in partnership between the British Museum and City Lit, this four-week course uses British Museum objects related to ancient Egypt to broaden and deepen students' knowledge of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The class will be held at the British Museum.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £103.00 Concession £84.00
  7. What's the Big Idea?: classic and contemporary short stories
    Course start date:  Mon 13 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Niland
    Read and discuss celebrated short stories over six weeks – discuss and explore what we understand might be the



    writers’ intentions, and what it means for us as readers – which can be quite different. Join us in sharing feelings



    about, and reactions to, a selection of classic and contemporary short stories and how they withstand the shifting context of readers, and time.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  8. Writing horror
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 14 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jonathan Barnes
    Write to unsettle, in this six-week trip through the techniques of horror fiction, learning from classic horror authors and contemporary masters of the genre.



    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:
    100% of 100
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Art in medieval England
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Richard Plant
    This course will explore the painting, sculpture and especially architecture of Medieval England Focussing mainly on the period following the Norman Conquest, we will discuss the developments in architecture in England and works of sculpture and painting.
    Full fee £139.00 Senior fee £139.00 Concession £90.00
  12. Women in art 1800-1900
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Elizabeth Eyres
    During the 19th century female painters and sculptors gained greater prominence, although a career in art was still challenging for women artists. In this course we examine their work and how such progress was achieved.



    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 £111.00 Concession £90.00
    Rating:
    95% of 100
  13. Philosophy and the soul
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Anita Kasabova
    Why talk about the soul and the psyche? Mainstream philosophy discarded these terms and yet they permeate through philosophical and psychological questions. How is the psyche lodged in the body? What is the relation between psyche, soul, and self? We explore these questions while re-integrating the notions of soul and psyche into the philosophical discussion.



    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 £111.00 Concession £70.00
  14. Autobiographical writing: an introduction
    Course start date:  Tue 21 Feb 2023 (and 2 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Julie Garton
    This short course explores the basic elements of writing autobiography drawing on memories, diaries, photos, dreams and fantasies with a focus on the forms of autobiography, memoir and the personal essay.
    Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    97% of 100
  15. How to Read a Film: A Beginners' Guide to Cinema
    Course start date:  Mon 15 May 2023 (and 1 other date)

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

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will develop your critical appreciation of the cinema by teaching you how to read and understand film texts. We will look at the elements that underpin film form – narrative, mise en scène, cinematography, editing and sound – alongside its historical development. We will consider film style by exploring classical, post-classical and art cinema and we will examine influential critical modes of analysis, such as genre, authorship and spectatorship.
    Full fee £109.00 Senior fee £109.00 Concession £71.00
    Rating:
    87% of 100

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