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. 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
  2. Art history taster
    Course start date:  Fri 10 Feb 2023 (and 3 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Sarah Jaffray
    Curious about art history? Join us for this taster session where we explore different ways into visual art and its histories, from the ancient to the contemporary.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  3. The art of writing the personal essay
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 11 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Yvonne Singh
    Follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Parker, George Orwell and Zadie Smith with this taster course on the personal essay, a continuously thriving genre of autobiographical writing.



    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:
    70% of 100
  4. 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
  5. Picture book writing
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 22 Jan 2023 (and 6 other dates)

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

    Tutors:  Lou Kuenzler
    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 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £65.00
    Rating:
    98% of 100
  6. America in the 30s: culture and society
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 14 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
  7. The City of London: the Square Mile
    Last Few Places
    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. 'Furious Giants Looming over Europe': World War 1 In continental poetry
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Peter Brennan
    How did poets in continental Europe respond to the unprecedented events of World War I? Representing four countries, this innovatory online course examines the powerful, distinctive work of Guillaume Apollinaire, Anna Akhmatova, Giuseppe Ungaretti, and Georg Trakl.



    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
  9. The Exorcist at 50
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Jon Wisbey
    A landmark film, The Exorcist brought a new level of terror to the big screen; nothing like it had been seen before in mainstream cinema - and nor has it since. This course offers a detailed analysis of the film and its key themes, its production, critical and popular reception, and its influence on the development of the demonic possession film, and horror cinema and popular culture in general.



    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. The philosophy of Machiavelli
    Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  John Goff
    “ … in constituting and legislating for a commonwealth it must needs be taken for granted that all men are wicked and that they will always give vent to the malignity that is in their hearts when opportunity offers.”.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £38.00
  11. Writing the family
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 18 Feb 2023 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Nick Barlay
    A thought-provoking workshop designed to tackle the challenges of writing about family life and offer guidance on shaping personal stories into coherent, engaging narratives.



    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
  12. Television and Streaming's Brave New World: What's on the Box Set?
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sun 19 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Wischmeyer
    Did you binge in lockdown but are now more selective? Where and how do you watch your preferred TV series or movies? With current inflation price rises will you let your subscription lapse? The Culture Secretary wants Channel 4 to be more like Netflix, but that model appears to be faltering and it covers no news. We may lose BBC 4 and Radio 4 Extra, but the new generation of viewers don’t use BBC or even television, so perhaps it’s not a problem for them. Let’s come together to discuss the contemporary small screen, our viewing preferences and our favourite TV series and films to see where we stand on the matter.
    Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £59.00 Concession £38.00
  13. The pre-Socratic philosophers: philosophy in the beginning
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Feb 2023

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  John Goff
    The beginnings of philosophy and science are found in the thinking of early Greek, ‘Presocratic’, philosophers. Who were they? Why is their thinking still relevant?



    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 £50.00
  14. 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
  15. 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

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