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. Cutting it fine: collage in modern & contemporary art
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 3 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Chantal Condron
    Immerse yourself in an exploration of the history of collage going as far back as ancient China to international contemporary art today. This engaging study day will enhance your knowledge of the roots of this fascinating media, and illustrate how collage techniques have been pivotal to major modern and contemporary art movements, from Cubism, Dada and Surrealism to photomontage and digital art.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  2. Public enemies, screen heroes: the gangster film
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 3 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    Although primarily associated with American cinema, the gangster film is also a major genre in British and French cinema. Explore gangster cinema in each of these three production contexts, looking at themes such as the representation of the gangster, violence, masculinity and style - particular that of the film noir - while considering the ways in which it has evolved at key historical moments.



    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
  3. Writing and rewriting fairytales
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 3 Mar 2024 (and 2 other dates)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Victoria M. Adams
    Once upon a time there was a City Lit workshop all about writing fairytales. The quest: to inspire writers to pen stories of love, fear, forests, revenge, dragons, witches, kings, queens, frogs and magic.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  4. Writing autofiction
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Natasha Bell
    Blurring lines between fact and fiction, blending the 'real' and 'imaginary', autofiction is a rich playground for writers. In this short advanced taster course, learn what 'autofiction' is, how it differs from other forms of life writing, and explore how to write it.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
  5. Satan and the Devil: a cultural eye view through text, image and tradition
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ann Jeffers
    The figure of Satan/devil has pervaded many centuries of the cultural imagination of the Western world. The course will examine the literary and iconographic sources for this enduring phenomena and will ask why ideas about the devil have continued to both frighten and fascinate and why its long-lasting association with sexuality and deceit continues to make it an attractive theme in contemporary culture.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  6. Craft focus: narrative time in fiction
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Vicky Grut
    All fiction is bound by time: a story must begin and end. In this practical short course learn how time functions in fiction and, through practical writing exercises, how you can manipulate it to great effect. Suitable for those with some creative writing experience.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
    Rating:
    100% of 100
  7. Modern African history: understanding the state and economy since independence
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Mar 2024 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Ingrid Aguiar Schlindwein
    Explore post-colonial Africa's political, economic, and social journey since independence. Gain insights into state building, governance, development, and identity, fostering a holistic understanding of Africa's evolution.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £69.00
  8. Jewish characters in Italian 20th century literature: Svevo, Bassani & Ginzburg
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 16 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Francesco Bucciol
    Discover how some Jewish characters have been portrayed by Italian novelists of the 20th century. We will read and comment on extracts from Italo Svevo, Giorgio Bassani and Natalia Ginzburg.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  9. Focus on: iconography
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 17 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Leslie Primo
    Ever wondered whether there’s a hidden meaning behind paintings? Discover why there are signs and symbols in paintings and how to find and interpret their meanings in medieval and Renaissance art.



    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. Melodrama, fantasy and realism: British cinema in the 1940s
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 17 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    The 1940s saw major developments in British films and filmmaking matched by record numbers of cinema-goers and lively critical debate. Explore this 'golden age' of British cinema through films such as Millions Like Us, Brief Encounter and The Red Shoes, and themes including national cinema, realism, melodrama and fantasy, while assessing its critical reception and impact on British film culture.



    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
  11. Shrinks on screen: psychologists on TV and Film
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 23 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Mary Wild
    In this course, we will look at examples of ‘shrinks on screen’—portrayals of mental health professionals (psychiatrists, social workers, psychoanalysts, etc.) in cinema and TV. We will critically examine ‘head doctors’ tropes, and identify iconic psychotherapy sessions in movies and television that convincingly represent the challenges and effectiveness of the so-called ‘talking cure’.







    Mary Wild is a film lecturer and podcaster with an academic background in psychoanalytic theory. Her research interests include cinematic representation of the unconscious, surrealism, mental illness, feminine subjectivity, the horror genre, and auteur studies. In addition to teaching at City Lit, she is a regular speaker at Freud Museum London.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  12. Write your screenplay: from idea to first draft
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 23 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Clive Ford
    A good screenplay starts with a good story but it also needs structure, good characters and interesting twists. This is a course for writers who have an idea they think is ready to go. We’ll look at the best ways to grab the viewers’ attention from the off, and at the end of the course you’ll get a chance to pitch your ideas.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £69.00 Senior fee £69.00 Concession £35.00
  13. Masters of cinema: Steve McQueen
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 24 Mar 2024

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Paul Sutton
    This course will explore the work of the Turner prize winning artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen. Awarded an Oscar in 2014 for his film, 12 Years a Slave, McQueen has been producing politically and racially committed artworks and films since the early 1990s. His most recent project, the five film Small Axe (2020) was broadcast on the BBC amid increasing recognition that racial prejudice for Britain’s ethnic minorities remains as prevalent today as it was half a century ago. This course will examine McQueen’s work as a response to and an engagement with these experiences.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
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