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.

Study in-person at City Lit or offsite, or online from the comfort of home, with interactive classes that allow you to participate in discussions with fellow adult students. We offer daytime, evening and weekend courses, both short and long. For more information on our online courses, please see our guide to online learning.

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.

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  1. Summer exhibitions in London: Inspired! Art & Literature at the Guildhall Art Gallery
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 9 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Julie Barlow
    Explore the connection of literary and visual arts in the collection of London's Guildhall Art Gallery. Get in the know before you go to the Guildhall's Inspired! exhibition this summer or just build your understanding of how literature inspired Victorian artists.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £12.00
  2. Friday lates: 'the future is now', an introduction to video art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 10 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Irina Chkhaidze
    Explore the early history of video art, its rise as a medium and its significance as a contemporary art practice. We focus on the influential video works from the 1960s-1980s.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £12.00
  3. The odd couple: Presidents Ford and Carter
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 23 Jun 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Mark Malcomson
    Presidents Ford and Carter, who only served just over six years between them, often feel like relatively insignificant figures compared with other post-War Presidents. However, they served at a tumultuous time in both the United States and in the World. We will look at both men as individuals, their lives and reflect back on their presidencies and their legacies.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £19.00 Concession £8.00
  4. Olympias: Feminine Power in Ancient Macedon
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Daniel Unruh
    The Macedonian queen Olympias was a famous figure in the ancient world. First and foremost, she was remembered as the wife of King Philip II of Macedon, conqueror of southern Greece, and the mother of King Alexander III of Macedon, known to history as Alexander the Great. But Olympias' identity goes far beyond wife and mother. The stories that have come down to us show her as a brilliant politician, a follower of strange religious rites, and even a general leading armies in the field. Some even represent her as the lover of a god!



    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 £10.00 Concession £10.00
  5. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on reading
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 4 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Historical fiction about the Greek and Roman worlds is perennially popular with readers, and with the releases of books like Circe, The Children of Jocasta, and Electra, the new sub-genre of fiction exploring myths and legends has never been stronger. How are the female figures of these stories presented as relevant and accessible? And, for writers of historical fiction, how do we write accounts of these women in ways that draw out interesting new facets of their myths, or let readers see female figures they know already as if for the first time?



    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 £10.00 Concession £10.00
  6. Origins of the Goddess in Ancient India
    Evening
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  Vaughan Pilikian
    The Goddess is a figure of great mystery in premodern India. Mostly absent in the ancient period, she arises seemingly from nowhere to become Sakti, a dangerous and powerful divinity of central importance in medieval Saivism. How might we begin to explain her origins? It seems that there may be evidence for a goddess cult in the material traces of the Indus Valley civilisation that predates the establishment of Vedic society. Might the Goddess be part of a Dravidian tradition of very great antiquity that somehow infiltrated the Indo-European? Or is her absence from our earliest textual sources overstated? Is it not the Goddess who appears as Night in the middle of the Mahabharata when the Kaurava warrior Asvatthaman is about to slaughter his enemies in their sleep? And might the obscure and troubling ritual of the Asvamedha shed some light on the sacred significance of female agency in the maintenance of Vedic sovereignty? This lecture will seek to address some of these challenging but fascinating questions.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  7. Reading and writing women in the ancient world: focus on writing
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Justin Murray
    Historical fiction about the Greek and Roman worlds is perennially popular with readers, and with the releases of books like Circe, The Children of Jocasta, and Electra, the new sub-genre of fiction exploring myths and legends has never been stronger. How are the female figures of these stories presented as relevant and accessible? And, for writers of historical fiction, how do we write accounts of these women in ways that draw out interesting new facets of their myths, or let readers see female figures they know already as if for the first time?



    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 £10.00 Concession £10.00
  8. Etruscan, Greek and Roman Goddesses
    Course start date:  Tue 5 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Keeley Street

    Tutors:  William Sterling
    An examination of how the Etruscans, Greeks and Romans viewed and worshipped goddesses - the similarities and differences and how they influenced each other.
    Full fee £10.00 Senior fee £10.00 Concession £10.00
  9. The representation of women in Islamic art
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Roberta Marin
    Islam prohibits the depiction of living beings in religious contexts. However, human and animal representations are permitted on works of art and architectural decorations in a secular setting. But how are women portrayed over the centuries? Do they play a leading role in the artistic repertoire? Do they convey positive or negative messages? In this short course we will try to answer these questions by considering some of the most notable examples of women representations in various media.



    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 £10.00 Concession £10.00
  10. Mighty Madonnas and wild women: picturing feminine power in Renaissance Italy
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 7 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Lydia Goodson
    Join us for an exploration of the multi-faceted depictions of feminine power in Renaissance Italy. Discover how artworks tell us about the women depicted and about the men who desired them.



    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 £10.00 Concession £10.00
  11. Aesop's fables: an introduction
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 19 Jul 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Maria Contos
    Aesop’s fables have been used through history to clarify important issues within society. Investigate their perseverance through history and why they continue to be relevant today.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £30.00
  12. Borderlines of Madness in 19th century fiction
    Evening, ONLINE
    Course start date:  Mon 9 May 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tutors:  Sarah Wise
    We will explore various themes related to insanity and altered states of consciousness by examining a number of 19th-century works of fiction. Novelists and poets often had the greatest insights into the workings of the mind, and many Victorian psychiatrists cited works of fiction in their case studies. Among the authors we will cover are Charlotte Bronte, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, Gogol, Herman Melville and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £30.00
  13. Art Deco London walk
    Course start date:  Mon 20 Jun 2022 (and 1 other date)

    Location on this date:  Off Site

    Tutors:  Diane Burstein
    Travel back to the 1930s to explore the Art Deco style that influenced a variety of designs, from radios and cutlery to places related to travel, entertainment and commerce. In addition to looking at the architecture of the period, your guide will tell stories of life in London from the time these buildings were being erected.



    Meeting outside St James’s Park tube station (Broadway exit) and finishing at the coach station. Meeting outside St James’s Park tube station (Broadway exit) and finishing at the coach station.
    Full fee £19.00 Senior fee £15.00 Concession £8.00
    Rating:
    90% of 100

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