Photograph of Stonehenge

Culture is the process by which a person becomes all that they were created capable of being.”― Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881)

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 1 hour a week
  • Tuesdays 18:00 - 19:00
  • 5 weeks: January to March
  • Tutors: Various
  • Fee: FREE
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
Enrol Here

Graduate School Logi


In association with Imperial College Graduate School


This course is only open to Imperial College graduate students (MSc / PhD) and Imperial College staff

The Graduate School Lectures, held in association with the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC), is a 6-week lecture course for graduate students and staff at Imperial College London and its associated medical school, in which we are going to explore a range of ideas in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

Each week a different specialist will introduce their research subject, taking us into diverse worlds ranging from art history, literature, film studies and philosophy to design history, music theory and literature.

You do not have to be knowledgeable or an expert in any of these topics, as each week the tutor's task will be to explain their subject to you, the topic they will be looking at and giving you some of the basic to take your studies further if you want to.

There is no practical work, homework or preparation needed, just an open mind and the ability to spend an hour or so listening to expert academics from the arts, humanities and social sciences present some of the ideas that get them excited.


Imperial College graduate students (MSc and Phd) who register for the course of lectures will receive an attendance certificate at the end of the programme.


All lectures are delivered online using Zoom.

Course Information

Course Programme

Your Programme

1. Tuesday 25 January 2022 - Dr Michael Paraskos on 'Sex and Surrealism'

Surrealism is one of the most well-known modern art movements, with the work of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte and Juan Miro familiar to many of us. But Surrealism is not really a style of art, it is an approach to understanding creativity that is rooted in Freudian explanations for the unconscious mind. This inevitably made Surrealist artists in the early twentieth century aware of Freudian theories of sex and libidinous desire, all of which had a profound impact on their art.


2. Tuesday 8 February 2022 - Dr Matthew Rowe on "Art, Science & Philosophy - an uneasy but revealing relationship"

This talk is primarily about philosophy's relationship to art. We will think about the question, what is the philosophy of art's role for art and artists, and art's role for its philosophy? But we will also ask why the difference between the philosophy of art and the philosophy of science is used to suggest differences between the arts and the sciences themselves.

3. Tuesday 22 February 2022 - Dr Bruno Bower on 'A Violinist Settles Down: Performers and Celebrity in the 19th Century'

The nineteenth century saw the emergence of some of the first musical 'celebrities' in the modern sense. As aristocratic patronage declined and independent careers became increasingly standard, these performers were able to exploit the latest technological innovations to spread their name far and wide. In the process, several different kinds of performer emerged depending on the kind of music they played and on how they styled themselves. The shifting patterns between them set in motion trends that have persisted through to the present day. 


4. Tuesday 8 March 2022 - Vivienne Lawes on "Revolution in the Art School: The Bauhaus (1919 – 1933)"

At the same time as the Art Deco design movement was sweeping Europe and North America, the Bauhaus in Germany was revolutioning design and design education in ways we are still living with today. Although it only ran for 14 years, as its staff escaped Nazi persecution in Britain and America, Bauhaus ideas were exported across the globe, eventually forming the basis of art foundational training in numerous countries around the world. The Bauhaus was unusual for an art school of the period in that it encouraged students to produce work in the avant-garde modernist style in all fields of art, design and architecture, with an eye to industrial production – all at a time when most other art schools were still asking students to draw from plaster casts of classical sculpture. Join Viv to discover more about this most revolutionary of art and design schools.


5. Tuesday 22 March 2022 - Dr Eleonora Sammartino on 'For a Silent Film "Herstory"'

This talk will be looking at the key role that women played in the film industry at the early stages of cinema history. Through the case of some of the most well-known filmmakers of the period, as well as some less widely-known ones, we will look at how women in different roles, both in front and behind the camera, shaped cinema at the time.


Programme may be subject to change without notice. 

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course.

Your Tutors

Each week a different speaker takes this class. We draw our speakers from a range of different departments at Imperial, including the CLCC, and also from outside Imperial College.

Course Delivery Method: Live Online (Zoom)

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.


This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.

Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
10  10  £65*
* There is no Early Bird rate available for one-term courses starting in October

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should contact before completing the online enrolment form

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 10  10 11 Oct - 18 Dec 2021 (10 weeks)* n/a n/a n/a
* This is a one-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 2nd August 2021

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and delivery of this course should be sent to the course coordinator, Dr Michael Paraskos at