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The Open University at 50

For the past fifty years, we’ve made it our mission to open up education for all. As the largest UK academic institution, we’ve empowered over two million students across 157 countries to transform their lives through learning – helping to make the impossible, possible.  

To mark our landmark birthday, we’re building an exciting programme of events and activities that will shine a light on the staff, students, donors and partners who have shaped our much-loved institution.

Join us in celebrating. Help spread the word. #OU50

The Open University at 50

'50 Years' Photography Collection

See 10 new student portraits captured by renowned photographer Chris Floyd, plus new images released from the OU Archive.

Our unique story

We’ve had an incredible journey so far. Visit the OU’s Digital Archive to look back at highlights from the past fifty years.

Future of Learning

How will learning change in the next 50 years? Read our academics’ predictions for the future and imagine what’s next.

Commemorative merchandise

Take home a piece of history by shopping our range of special edition OU 50 branded merchandise, stationery and clothing.

OpenTALKS and 50th Events

Join us for a series of unique events and inaugural lectures to celebrate our love of learning. You’ll hear from our famous faces, students and world-class academics.

Your stories

What’s it like to be part of OU history? Get inspired by our student stories and share your own unique experiences.

50th Anniversary Activity Calendar

Oct 1-31

OU Roadshow Public Events Across Scotland

Shetland, Orkney, Oban, Dumfries, Inverness, Irvine Stirling

The Open University is hosting public information stands at venues across Scotland in Autumn 2019. Come along and meet our OU staff to find out what it’s like to study with us, what modules and qualifications we offer, and what funding options are available.

Oct 7-9

Lessons from the Frozen Planet and Blue Planet II, with Mark Brandon

Inverness, Perth and Sterling

Join OU Professor of Polar Oceanography, Mark Brandon, as he dives behind the scenes and explores how science and discovery were the driving forces behind the OU/BBC’s multi-award-winning co-produced documentaries, Frozen Planet and Blue Planet II.

Oct 10

OpenTALKS STEM: A Blue Planet to a Frozen Desert – Exploring the Environments of Venus, Earth and Mars

Milton Keynes

Venus, Earth and Mars all have active and changing atmospheres, important not least in determining whether each planet is suitable for life. Earth today is a vibrant blue planet, teeming with life, while Venus is hot enough to melt lead and has a toxic atmosphere, and Mars is frozen and dry, with no liquid water at the surface. But this has not always been the case: over four billion years ago, Earth was not the most welcoming home for life to begin. In this talk Professor Stephen Lewis will discuss the role played by the weather and climate on each planet, how this is important for spacecraft exploration today and why understanding other planets can tell us more about the Earth. The talk will describe some of the science behind The Planets TV series, first shown on BBC 2 earlier this year.

See all events