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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.

Your stories

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

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.

Our Tree of Learning and you

Are you part of our OU family? Here's your chance to add your personalised OU shield to our special 'Tree of Learning' sculpture.

50th Anniversary Activity Calendar

May 15

OpenTALKS History: Reimagining democracy: lessons from the French Revolution

Milton Keynes

This lecture by Anna Plassart explores contemporary reactions to the democratic experiment of the French Revolution. For many in France as in Britain, France’s descent into violence illustrated the dangers of democratic and rights-based politics. But for those who continued to uphold democratic ideals in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the Revolution’s failure also provided a set of lessons to reflect upon.

May 16

Empowering an inclusive workforce through Graduate Apprenticeships


Diversifying Your Talent Pool to Plug Digital Skills Gaps: The OU in Scotland is hosting a special event to help support organisations of all sizes across Scotland benefit from the opportunity Graduate Apprenticeships represent to access, shape and retain digital talent.

May 17

Open the Door: Scotland's Women Writers Festival


The Open University is delighted to support Open the Door 2019, Scotland’s literary festival that puts women to the fore.

See all events