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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

Jul 16

Inaugural Lecture: The polar oceans and global climate

Milton Keynes

In this lecture Professor Brandon will describe the polar seas, how they work, and their global importance. He will show how research has fed into polar broadcast and how using the series co-produced by the BBC and The Open University, we can teach science to millions. Components of our television broadcast with real time polar data, can even be utilised by distance learning students to learn basic science and get the best possible understanding of what is happening there right now.

Jul 17

Between – a storytelling performance of migration and multilingualism

Milton Keynes

The MA in Translation team at the School of Languages and Applied Linguistics invites you to Between, a storytelling performance of migration and multilingualism. Focusing on migration, identity, multilingualism, empathy, loss and renewal, Between uses storytelling and drama to reveal the difficult and sensitive situations encountered by interpreters working in a multi-ethnic counselling and interpreting service. The performance is based on the work of the Reading-based Mothertongue project, a dedicated Mental Health Interpreting Service that supported people from black and minority ethnic communities.

Jul 27

Nottingham Pride


We are extremely proud of our social mission driving inclusivity and diversity and will be attending Pride events across the four nations alongside PLEXUS the OU Students Association LGBTQ+ group.

See all events