History, Culture & Writing Courses Online & in London

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 writing creative non-fiction and American history and politics.

Study 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, 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 online now.

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  1. Philosophy of music

    Course Date: Fri 6 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    What is music? Does it consist of sounds, scores or something else? Is it a language? Can it express emotions? Or be objectively beautiful? Why do we value it? Can we always differentiate between music and other sounds?

    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: £79.00
    Concession: £60.00

  2. In Celebration of Lifelong Learning Week, a Special City Lit Perspectives: How Classical Cultures Speak to us Today with Professor Dame Mary Beard

    New
    Course Date: Fri 6 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This lively discussion will conclude with questions from the audience via our host, Mark Malcomson CBE, Principal and CEO of City Lit. This event will be interpreted into British Sign Language.

    Mary Beard is one of Britain's best-known Classicists - a distinguished Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Newnham College. She has written numerous books on the Ancient World, including the 2008 Wolfson Prize-winner, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town. In addition, Mary has presented highly-acclaimed TV series, Meet the Romans and Rome – Empire without Limit, as well as documentaries on Pompeii, Caligula and Julius Caesar, and is a regular broadcaster and media commentator. Mary’s most recent two-part documentary, Shock of the Nude was broadcast on BBC Two in February 2020, followed by Inside Culture with Mary Beard last month.

    Mary is also Classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement and writes a thought-provoking blog, A Don's Life. In 2015 Mary published the critically-acclaimed SPQR – A History of Ancient Rome and more recently Women & Power examining the silencing of women across the millennia. Her books are translated into many languages and she has a significant following all over the world. As a presenter for the landmark BBC TV Civilisations series, she has published a book based on her episodes. In addition, Mary hosts the BBC’s TV arts show, Front Row Late and has recently been awarded the J Paul Getty medal for her contribution to the Arts.

    Mary is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Trustee of the British Museum and was made an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2013 for services to Classical scholarship. Mary was awarded the further honour of Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2018.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £0.00
    Senior fee: £0.00
    Concession: £0.00

  3. Philosophy of art

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 7 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Why do we value art? For the pleasure it gives us, the emotion it expresses, its truthfulness, its form? In this introduction to the philosophy of art we will consider various approaches to these questions and others.

    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: £36.00

  4. Narrative comedy: writing for TV in the online age

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 7 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Award-winning shows like Fleabag, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and People Just Do Nothing have changed the face of comedy. Add streaming services – where This Country began – and the opportunities to develop narrative comedy are multitude. This course led by an Emmy award-winning Producer, explains how to identify your outlets and modify your projects accordingly.

    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: £28.00

  5. 'The glorious dead': religion, the war dead and remembrance, 1914 - 1939

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 7 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Marking the centenary of The Cenotaph, we explore the origins and social/cultural context and nature of honouring the Great War dead during the conflict and between 1919-1939 including memorials, the Great Silence and battlefield pilgrimages.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £29.00
    Senior fee: £23.00
    Concession: £18.00

  6. The 'mature' woman in British & American cinema

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 7 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Negative stereotypes of the mature woman has plagued popular cinema. Presented as witches or as the dithering lady, mature women on-screen have often been cruelly represented. Recently, however, there has been a positive increase in female representation, and mature stars such as Helen Mirren have altered the appearance and representation of the mature woman on-screen.

    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: £36.00

  7. Victorian fiction 1840 -1880: the rise of Realism

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 7 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    The course will consider the Victorian novel over a period of 40 years from the perspective of realism and its importance in the development of the novel’s form, style and significance.

    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: £36.00

  8. Nation building: expansion, development and prosperity in America from 1818-1860

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 8 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This course will cover the dynamic period of American history – where the nation is growing and expanding in terms of territory, population and influence during the period of 1818 through to 1859.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £89.00
    Senior fee: £71.00
    Concession: £45.00

  9. Micropoetry: small poems, big ideas

    Micropoetry: small poems, big ideas

    Evening
    Course Date: Wed 11 Nov 2020 (and 1 other date)
    Location on this date: Online
    Explore the emerging art form of micropoetry in this fun but informative short course. Compose your own poetry and learn how to make every word on the page count.

    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: £28.00

  10. The changing British voter: Taking back control?

    Course Date: Thu 12 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    The outcome of the General Election of 2019 was unimaginable even a few months previously, with the Conservatives taking seats that were solidly Labour since their creation in the early twentieth century. What explains this change? Will it last? What does it mean for the other parties? We shall explore the changing way Britain has voted over the last seventy years and sketch how not just the British voter, but British society, has changed in a few generations.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £79.00
    Senior fee: £63.00
    Concession: £35.00

  11. Write a short story in a weekend

    Write a short story in a weekend

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 14 Nov 2020 (and 5 other dates)
    Location on this date: Online
    Turn your great idea into a short story on this fun practical course. Through a series of inspiring exercises, you'll be introduced to some key fiction writing techniques and encouraged to draft a short story from beginning to end in two days. Suitable for beginners who are comfortable learning at a fast pace. Please note - this course incudes a 2-hour break from 12:30-14:30 each day.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee: £89.00
    Senior fee: £89.00
    Concession: £36.00

  12. Masters of cinema: Steven Spielberg - the king of Hollywood

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 14 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    How’s this for a CV: Columbo, Close Encounters, Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, ET, —and now West Side Story! Does any genre remain for this 70’s movie brat who invented action-packed modern blockbusters and chanced new forms but was, above all, a popular and master storyteller? This is the perfect moment for a one day overview of the Spielberg filmography.

    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: £36.00

  13. Charles Dickens: 'The Story of our lives' - 'Great Expectations, 'Hard Times' & 'Little Dorrit'

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 14 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    Dickens adapted words from Shakespeare to describe his periodical All the Year Round – and by implication his central purpose as a writer of novels. By close analysis of key scenes from three major works, we shall illuminate precisely how Dickens presents the crucial life choices that we make and the often unforeseeable – but sustained – impact that these have on ourselves and on others.

    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: £36.00

  14. How to get an agent

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 14 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    This intensive workshop offers students insider, need-to-know information on securing a literary agent.

    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: £28.00

  15. Witchcraft in early modern Scotland

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 14 Nov 2020
    Location on this date: Online
    What is a Scottish witch and how do they differ from English witches? On this short course, we will explore the religious, cultural and political factors that informed attitudes to witches, witch-hunting and witch trials in Scotland.

    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: £30.00

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