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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

Aug 12-23

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2019 - The OU 50th Anniversary Series


The OU 50th Anniversary Series at the Edinburgh International Book Festival includes events with: former Prime Minister and former OU tutor Gordon Brown; radical poet and OU honorary graduate Benjamin Zephaniah; celebrated Scottish writer and OU honorary graduate Val McDermid; equal pay campaigner and former BBC China editor Carrie Gracie; prize-winning author and former OU Arts Faculty staff member Daniel Shand; and author and OU creative writing alumnus Catherine Simpson.

Aug 24

Pride Cymru


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.

Aug 29

OU Roadshow Employer Events Across Scotland: ‘Upskilling Your Workforce: Preparing for the Future'

Across Scotland

The OU is running a roadshow of events for employers across Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI). The roadshow takes place from 29 August to 5 November and will visit Dundee, Shetland, Orkney, Oban, Dumfries, Inverness, Irvine and Stirling.

See all events