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What to expect

The London Critical Theory Summer School is a transdisciplinary course whose faculty includes world-renowned scholars from the arts and humanities, information and media studies, and the social sciences.

The Summer School is designed to be a welcoming and open space for engaged and sustained debate over the two weeks. Participants come from around the world, so you have the opportunity to present and discuss your work and its relationship to critical theory within an international context.

We usually host between 50-70 students, some are completing the early stages of their research career, and others are seasoned academics with many years of teaching, research and writing behind them. The variety of ages, experience and interests all adds to the inclusive spirit of the London Critical Theory Summer School.


Below you will find important information regarding the structure of the London Critical Theory Summer School as well as what to prepare in advance.


  • Over the course of two weeks, students typically take eight modules, each led by one of our academic staff. Each of those modules includes up to three 60- to 90-minute sessions on a topic relating to that academic's current research. Each session concludes with a group discussion, where students are encouraged to share their thoughts and questions. Students do not need to select or sign up for modules.
  • Once the tutors have finalised their course outline, students will be sent a timetable, a short introduction to each module, and a reading list. Wherever possible we will make sure that all reading materials are available online and free to use.
  • During the two weeks of the Summer School you will have access to the Birkbeck Library and to valuable e-resources, such as bibliographic databases, from the time of enrolment.
  • Modules take place between 10am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday and 10am and 1pm on both Fridays.
  • The lectures are streamed to the online attendees at 11am (BST) Monday to Thursday and should there be second lecture planned on the same day, this is streamed at 2pm (BST). On both Fridays the public debates, which tend to take place at 2pm (BST) are also livestreamed.
  • Recordings of the lectures become available to the in-person and the virtual attendees with access on the teaching platform within one month after the end of the Summer School.


  • We host a public debate on the Friday afternoon of both weeks of the Summer School. 
  • These debates involve academic tutors from that week, students and other guests for a public discussion on themes raised over the course of the week, and the relationship between critical theory and their own research. 


  • After feedback from previous students, in 2018 we added a series of informal discussion groups, in which students could meet, along with a facilitator, to continue their discussions and share follow-up questions and thoughts. 
  • Since then, we have offered students the chance to host student-led discussion groups without the presence of module tutors.
  • In 2023, we piloted a Poetic Witnessing session, in which students met, along with two facilitators, to further explore themes of that year's summer school through creative practice. We will continue to offer students a session that uses poems and excerpts as entry points for further discussion of the emergent summer school themes.
  • We actively encourage peer-to-peer interaction among our participants.


  • When the Summer School is held on the Birkbeck campus, lunch is freely provided, along with refreshments. 
  • Students are invited to join us for a welcome wine reception on the first day of the summer school to meet fellow attendees and their tutors. 
  • A dedicated room is booked each day for periods of relaxation, informal conversation, or to catch up on some reading.
  • Most activities take place on our Bloomsbury campus.
  • In the immediate area, there are many cafes, restaurants and bars. There is also a weekly food market that takes place on the terrace at the front of our Malet Street main building, selling tasty, reasonably priced snacks and meals.


  • All students accepting a standard (i.e. non-bursary) place at the Summer School will be responsible for making their own arrangements for travel, accommodation and visas. We can advise on cheaper range student accommodation available over the summer period in the vicinity of Birkbeck. This should be booked early to avoid disappointment. 
  • Not all international students will require a visa to come to the UK for study purposes, but given uncertainty around Brexit, the recent COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing global issues, we would advise that you make any arrangements in plenty of time to avoid losing your place. Check the UK Government website for advice on visas. Please note that last year's experience, as reported by our international attendees, it can take up to 4 months to receive a positive outcome following a visa application, especially in cases whereby the application is not accurate or requires further consideration.