Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'? Try Out This London Summer School

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Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'? Try Out This London Summer School

This is a sponsored article on behalf of Bishopsgate Institute.

Hitchcock, brutalism, yoga and miniskirts. Not many educational venues can offer such a curious mix. Bishopsgate Institute’s Summer School — taking bookings now — touches on the subjects other adult learning courses fail to. Many of its courses have a strong emphasis on London’s cultural history, and draw on the treasures of the Institute's archive.

Do a bit of historical sightseeing…

How about taking a trip through the archives to the 1851 Great Exhibition? Using Victorian guidebooks, illustrations and ephemera from the Institute's collections, you can explore the history of the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park.

Or jump forward 100 years to the 1951 Festival of Britain. See how the South Bank was transformed from an area of warehouses and industry to the leisure zone we know today.

Maybe you'd prefer a trip through the swinging 60s, when London was the capital of cool. Using archive material from the time, you'll explore the nightlife, the women's movement, alternative cultures and shifting attitudes towards same-sex relationships.

Learn to draw London

Not all the courses are classroom based. Join a group visit to St James's Park, where you'll learn to observe and draw your surroundings. For something more urban, try the Barbican drawing class, which will give you a new appreciation of its unique brutalist architecture.

…Rediscover a lost language or the films of Hitchcock

Polari was a secretive language or slang used by London's gay community through much of the 20th century. Join Professor Paul Baker to explore its history and usage, before learning a few of the elements of Polari.

Or how about exploring the London films of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitch made many of his early films in the capital, and returned late in his career for a memorable portrayal of Covent Garden in Frenzy. The course will examine clips from these movies, with an emphasis on the master of suspense's use of London locations. Suitably inspired, you might turn your own hand to a little storytelling. The creative writing and screenwriting courses will help you plot out your own works of fiction.

We've barely scratched the surface. Those looking to improve their fitness as well as their brains might try courses in yoga, pilates or rock & roll. You can even discover your singing voice with a one day singing in harmony workshop.

The Summer School will give you an excellent introduction to your subject of choice, but it needn't stop there. With one of London's richest historical archives, and an ever-evolving programme of activities, Bishopsgate Institute is the place to feed your curiosity.

Bishopsgate Institute is at 230 Bishopsgate, opposite Liverpool Street station. The Summer School runs from July to September, but other events and courses run all year round. #SummerSchool

Last Updated 19 July 2016