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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

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

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


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

50th Anniversary Inaugural Lectures

Join us for a special programme of inaugural lectures celebrating our world-leading new professors.

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

Mar 19

An Introduction to the Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship webinar


The Open University has launched its Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship, offering a new, flexible route into becoming a social worker. We are holding an information webinar on World Social Work Day – 19 March at 10am so you can find out more about how you can grow your own social workers utilising the apprenticeship levy.

Mar 25

Imagine! Reading about conflict


Grab a free coffee and join our fun reading group with a difference! After proving so popular at our last two festivals, Dr Shaf Towheed, Senior Lecturer in English at The Open University returns to lead a light-hearted discussion on how authors write about conflict. The event will focus on literature about the Troubles, with two extracts from award winning books produced by local authors Anna Burns and Tony Macaulay, followed by short extracts on writing about WW2 and contemporary conflict. With some reading aloud by the lecturers and volunteers, there will be the opportunity for comments and questions from participants at the end, when you will be welcome to share your thoughts and dive into the intricacies of the text. No previous knowledge is required as this is an informal, relaxed event suitable for ages 18+.

Mar 26

Imagine! What can Trump teach us about bullying and manipulation?


Manipulation and bullying are serious issues in many areas of public and private life – from cyberbullying of school children to abusive relationships. These can have damaging impacts on individuals, relationships, school, work and social life. Applying ideas from psychology, this intriguing talk by The Open University’s Dr Karen Hagan will look at manipulative strategies used by President Trump in news conferences, interviews and on Twitter, and why these can be successful in particular contexts. Understanding this can reveal counterstrategies to discourage and resist bullying across all spheres. Come along to listen and ask any questions you may have on this fascinating subject! This event will be delivered by Dr Karen Hagan, Senior Lecturer (Ireland), Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and School of Psychology. Suitable for all ages. Delivered as part of The Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas.

See all events