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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

Events

Jun 13

After the dust has settled: asteroid impacts and their aftermath

Milton Keynes

If an asteroid strikes the Earth – or any other celestial body – ‘something’ happens. The extend of that ‘something’ from a human perspective was explored by Prof. Simon Green in his OpenTalks STEM lecture on 23rd April. The talk by Senior Lecturer Dr. Susanne P. Schwenzer will pick up from there and explore the interaction of the projectile with the surface. She will look at what happens to the rocks in the underground and how an impact changes the landscape. She will talk about the Earth and its impact record, including the infamous, dinosaur-killing (?) Chicxulub impact. But she will also look at Moon and Mars. Using the former she will show how we can use impact craters to find out about the age of a planetary surface from images alone, and the latter to discuss how an impact into the – now – icy world of Mars could change the environmental conditions to create habitable liquid water systems.

Jun 15

The Open University's 50th Anniversary Readings

Belfast

Celebrate The Open University’s 50th birthday with an array of readings from Irish writers published the year the university was founded. Since 1969 the OU has been the leading university for flexible, innovative teaching and world-leading research, providing access to education for everyone and helping to transform lives. Join us as we mark the occasion with poetry and polemic, fact and fiction, journalism and journeying, with people reading from the work of Seamus Heaney, Janet McNeill, James Plunkett, Iris Murdoch, James Simmons and many more. Come and celebrate 50 years of education for all.

Jun 15-16

OU at Glasgow Science Festival - at the Botanics: Get Experimental

Glasgow

Come and visit Glasgow’s wonderful Botanic Gardens for a weekend of hands-on science and horticultural experiments, with members of The Open University and the University of Strathclyde.

Jun 18

50th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner (Invitation Only)

Cardiff

An event to celebrate 50 years of transforming lives through learning and opening up education for all.

Jun 20

Celebrating the OU at 50 with the OU in Scotland's Psychology Community

Glasgow

Come along and join us for a celebration of 50 years of OU Psychology in Scotland. Bring yourself, your family, friends and dancing shoes. This public event is open to OU psychology students, their friends and families and anyone with an interest in psychology and/or the OU.

Jun 20

Mend the Gap

Belfast

To celebrate International Refugee Day, The Open University invites you to attend an interactive workshop and discussion around “Mending the Gap”. Mend the Gap is an exciting approach, developed by PowerUs, that helps people at the receiving end of statutory, voluntary and third sector social care organisations promote deeper understanding of their needs as refugees and asylum seekers. This workshop will discuss the principles behind the approach and will lead you in discussions as to how it can be applied in your organisation. It will explore new ways of learning that can come from sharing experiences, knowledge and skills within professionals’ education. PowerUs is an international network of teachers and researchers from schools of social work and representatives from different service user organisations. It develops methods of mutual learning in order to change social work practice to be more effective in supporting the empowerment of marginalized and discriminated groups in society. The workshop will be delivered by Helen Casey, Staff Tutor for the Department of Social Work at the OU, who will discuss her gap-mending work with refugees and asylum seekers.

Jun 22

Edinburgh Pride

Edinburgh

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.

Jun 24

Mental health and you: A Northern Ireland perspective

Belfast

Mental ill health is a problem that affects thousands of people right across Northern Ireland and touches the lives of so many more. Northern Ireland is also the most underfunded nation across the UK in terms of public health care for mental illness. A great deal of focus has been placed on the role of conflict on public mental health in Northern Ireland and in particular, its impact on society in the aftermath of the Troubles. Following The Open University’s recent co-production with the BBC, Psychosis and Me, shown as part of a series to shine a light on mental health, we are proud to bring you this special talk that will take place as part of a series of events to celebrate the OU’s 50th anniversary in 2019. The OU’s Dr Sarah Vicary and Dr Sharon Mallon will take a different approach, discussing how broad social and policy level factors such as poverty, inequality and public attitudes are also shaping mental health in Northern Ireland today. They will lead a discussion on the impact that the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly has had, including the continued delay in dealing with mental health legislation. The talk will conclude with an interactive quiz, based on the BBC programme on psychosis, that will demonstrate how social attitudes towards severe mental health problems can also shape the individual's experience and responses to these issues. Dr Sarah Vicary is a Senior Lecturer and qualified social worker. Her PhD explored the role and experiences of Approved Mental Health Professionals. Dr Sharon Mallon is a Lecturer in Mental Health and completed her PhD in a qualitative study of young adults' suicides from the perspective of their friends.

Jun 25

Inaugural Lecture: If school is the problem, what is the solution?

Milton Keynes

Discussing fundamental problems in the current education system. Professor Peter Twinning explores elements of a system that is more fit for purpose.

Jun 28

Planets and stars: an immersive night sky experience

Brecon Beacons National Park visitors centre

Stephen Lewis & Dave Rothery, academics from the new BBC2 series The Planets that launched last night, will be coming to Wales for a live stargazing and space lecture experience in partnership with Dark Sky Wales. We have the benefit of extremely dark skies in Wales so this should be a knock-out event.

Jun 29

Dublin Pride

Dublin

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.

Jul 4

50th Anniversary concert: The Open University Choir performs John Byron’s Ritual Spells

Milton Keynes

This substantial work for soprano, chorus and orchestra was commissioned by the OU Choir in 1994 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Open University and its premiere was performed by the Choir on 28 April 1994. The work is a setting by local composer John Byron of four poems by Richard Gaskell which trace the cycle of the seasons. The OU Choir has been at the forefront of practical music-making on the Milton Keynes campus for many years and is proud in this concert to mark its own anniversary in 2019 of 40 years presenting concerts at the Open University.

Jul 8-12

Festival of Business and Law

Milton Keynes

Join us for a celebration of OU Business & Law across the University. There will be Student and Alumni Awards, visits from our Alumni Council and lots more to come. Further details to follow.

Jul 10

OpenTalk STEM: Who turned out the lights? A lecture on Cyber security

Milton Keynes

The phrase ‘Digital Pearl Harbor’ has often been used to describe a crippling computer attack on a country’s infrastructure. On 17th December 2016, the temperature in Kyiv, Ukraine fell to -7 Celsius. At midnight, the electricity supply failed. One year later, in Western Ukraine, it failed again. These weren’t accidents; someone was deliberately interfering with the Ukrainian energy grid.

This talk, by Senior Lecturer Dr Mike Richards will explore the origins of the Ukrainian attack; the vulnerabilities that made; it possible; who was behind the blackouts and what they have done since. It will also ask whether the cold, dark nights of 2016 and 2017 might happen again and if we may be the next victims.

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.

Aug 3

Belfast Pride

Belfast

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 12-23

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

Edinburgh

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

Wales

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.

Sep 9-12

Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF9)

BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh

The ninth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF9), co-hosted by The Open University with The Commonwealth of Learning. Focusing on Innovations for Quality Education and Lifelong Learning, with special focus on Education for Girls and Empowering Youth.

Sep 10

Inaugural Lecture: Cause-related Marketing - a marketing strategy for corporate social responsibility performance

Milton Keynes

Cause-related marketing seeks to enhance a firm’s legitimacy. This is achieved by publicising and capitalising on the company’s corporate social responsibility accomplishments. More specifically, it focuses on designing corporate social responsibility strategies and communication of the associated achievements, to enhance a firm’s reputation with its key stakeholders. This in turn improves long-run profitability and stakeholder relationships. In this lecture, Professor Liu will explore the formats of cause-related marketing campaigns and the specific ways of implementing these strategies. He will argue the opportunities (benefits) that such campaigns can bring to private businesses as well as social enterprises/non-profits. Professor Lui will also discuss the potential threats faced by corporate and social enterprise/non-profit managers when implementing cause-related marketing strategies.

Oct 15

Inaugural Lecture: What's the point of criminal justice history?

Milton Keynes

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary, Paul Lawrence, Professor of History, will deliver his inaugural lecture how a historical approach to criminal justice contributes to contemporary understandings of crime and justice.

Sep 14

Milton Keynes Pride

Milton Keynes

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.

Nov 14

Inaugural Lectures: Discovering new planets (double lecture)

Milton Keynes

Discovering new planets:
1. The puzzle of planet Mercury – why go there? David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences. Professor Rothery will present the dramatic and perplexing history of Mercury – the planet three times closer to the Sun than the Earth, rich in volatile elements.
2. Exoplanet discoveries: Our place in the Star Trek Universe. Carole Haswell, Professor of Astrophysics Professor Haswell will explore how exoplanets offer special opportunities to place planet Earth in context.

Previous events

Jan 1-31

#BrainTeaserMonth

January is #BrainteaserMonth so if even if you can’t make it down the gym to burn off the festive excess, you can flex your grey matter with a spot of lateral thinking. Over the course of the month our social media channels will be filled with brainteasers – from puzzles to ethical dilemmas to storytelling challenges - to help celebrate our 50th birthday and promote the OU’s academic expertise.

Jan 15

OpenTALKS History: With Europe, but not of it? Why Britain joined the European Community

Milton Keynes

When the European Community was set up in 1958, Britain declined to join. By 1961, however, the British Government had decided that the country's best interests would be served by joining Europe. Luc-Andre Brunet examines the arguments for and against joining.

Jan 22

Crichton Conversation with Allan Little: The Power of Conversation, sponsored by The Open University Scotland

Dumfries

As part of the Crichton Conversation programme, The Open University are delighted to be sponsoring this event. Allan Little is one of Scotland's most distinguished journalists.

Jan 23

James Honeyborne: The Making of Blue Planet II, sponsored by The Open University Scotland

University of Edinburgh

Blue Planet II is a landmark piece of film-making with an equally significant legacy. Since its first broadcast, a tsunami of interest has developed concerning ocean sustainability, particularly in terms of marine plastics and climate change. James, the award-winning Executive Producer based at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, was at the helm of this ground-breaking series. Come along as we dive deeper into this intriguing world.

Jan 23

James Honeyborne: The Making of Blue Planet II, sponsored by The Open University Scotland

University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

Blue Planet II is a landmark piece of film-making with an equally significant legacy. Since its first broadcast, a tsunami of interest has developed concerning ocean sustainability, particularly in terms of marine plastics and climate change. James, the award-winning Executive Producer based at the BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol, was at the helm of this ground-breaking series. Come along as we dive deeper into this intriguing world.

Jan 28

Inaugural Lecture: Back from the future, forward from the past: The journey that is lifelong learning

Milton Keynes

Professor Devendra Kodwani, Executive Dean of The Open University's faculty of Business and Law, will introduce the OU's 50th anniversary inaugural lecture series with a lecture on lifelong learning and the role of universities. What the concept of lifelong learning initiated by the OU in 1969 means now for the future of universities.

Jan 30

OpenTALKS Blue Planet II: The science behind the BBC series

Deeside

Professor Mark Brandon and Dr Philip Sexton have spent years working in oceans all around the world including Antarctica, the Atlantic and the Arctic. Most recently, they were part of The Open University co-production team working on the BBC’s Blue Planet II. Using breakthroughs in marine science and cutting-edge technologies this landmark seven-part series brought viewers face to face with compelling stories from our Earth’s incredible oceans. Together, Professor Mark Brandon and Dr Philip Sexton, will talk about the science of our oceans, the experience of the production process, and how science and discovery were the driving forces behind the award-winning series.

Feb 5

An introduction to Chinese language learning in the past, present and future (Belfast)

Belfast

As part of Chinese New Year 2019 The Open University is celebrating with a free, fun talk and interactive workshop entitled ‘An introduction to Chinese language learning in the past, present and future’. Presented by Ximena Arias-Manzano, Open University Staff Tutor (Languages), the talk will explore the ways in which Chinese characters were written in the past. Ximena will also discuss the evolution of Chinese characters and how computer and mobile technology have transformed the handling of characters. The importance of Mandarin in the business world today will also be discussed. The talk is followed by a short interactive workshop, with the chance to write Chinese characters and Ximena will demonstrate The Open University’s Chinese@OU App.

Feb 6

OpenTALKS History: Making this realm of England an Empire: The Tudors, Europe and the Reformation

Milton Keynes

This talk presented by Neil Younger, will consider whether relations between Tudor England and Europe in the 16th Century can offer any lessons for remaking our relationships with Europe in the 21st Century.

Feb 8

An introduction to Chinese language learning in the past, present and future

Dublin

As part of The Dublin Chinese New Year Festival 2019 The Open University in Ireland, in collaboration with The National Library of Ireland, is celebrating with this free, fun talk and interactive workshop. Presented by Ximena Arias-Manzano, The Open University Staff Tutor (Languages) in Ireland, the talk will explore the ways in which Chinese characters were written in the past. Ximena will also discuss the evolution of Chinese characters and how computer and mobile technology have transformed the handling of characters. The importance of Mandarin in the business world today will also be discussed.

Feb 13

OpenTALKS: Blue Planet II: The science behind the BBC Series

Dublin

Join The Open University’s academics who worked on the BBC Blue Planet series to hear about the science of our oceans. Marine scientists Mark Brandon and Phil Sexton have spent years working in oceans all around the world including Antarctica, the Atlantic and the Arctic, and with the BBC Blue Planet team since 2014. Using video footage from Blue Planet II, they will talk about some of the key issues affecting our oceans, including how they ‘work’ and why they are important. If you are a Blue Planet fan, this is not to be missed!

Feb 14

OpenTALKS: Blue Planet II: The science behind the BBC Series

Belfast

Join The Open University’s academics who worked on the BBC Blue Planet series to hear about the science of our oceans. Marine scientists Mark Brandon and Phil Sexton have spent years working in oceans all around the world including Antarctica, the Atlantic and the Arctic, and with the BBC Blue Planet team since 2014. Using video footage from Blue Planet II, they will talk about some of the key issues affecting our oceans, including how they ‘work’ and why they are important. If you are a Blue Planet fan, this is not to be missed!

Feb 16

Mathematical art and the secrets of the Giant's Causeway

Belfast

In this hands-on workshop with Charlotte Webb, Lecturer in Maths Education, children will investigate the mathematics behind regular and Archimedean tessellations, and create their own collaborative, geometric art display using tessellating shapes. They will also look at a local example of tessellation that helped make the Giant's Causeway one of the wonders of the world!

Feb 17

The Moon: a gateway to planetary exploration

Belfast

In 2019, it will be 50 years since The Open University was established, and since the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon. These two independent but unique events have touched millions (if not billions!) of lives. In this presentation, Dr Mahesh Anand will highlight the internationally-leading lunar research carried out at The Open University on the Apollo samples, and how the Moon is a natural gateway for future planetary exploration. Prepare to be inspired to make "living off the land on the Moon" a reality in the not too distant future!

Feb 19

Imaginary energy

Belfast

In this entertaining and interactive talk, Dr Stephen Peake takes us on a tour of our weird energy past and our even stranger energy future. Half of the world's 7.5 billion people don't consume enough energy to live well. The other half consume too much. How then, will 11 billion of us enjoy the high energy lifestyles we have become used to? Where will we get our energy from? How will energy change the way we live? This event features a range of theatrical demonstrations, amazing data graphics and performance elements interspersed with some boring facts - a peek into your energy future!

Feb 19

Inaugural Lecture: Aspects of Open: The evolution of the meaning of open education

Milton Keynes

Martin Weller, Professor of Education Technology at the OU, will examine what the term 'open' means and consider if we were to invent an 'Open University' now, what would it look like?

Feb 20

Training your brainwaves

Belfast

It is a myth that we only use 10% of our brain but there are ways to improve the function of your 86 billion neurons. Neurofeedback can help people learn to modify their brain by displaying its electrical activity in real-time. By seeing and hearing the brain activity in milliseconds resolution, people can learn to modify a range of brain functions such as attention or arousal. Dr Duncan Banks of The Open University will give a presentation and live demonstration showing how brainwaves can be recorded from members of the audience.

Feb 23

Science on screen

Belfast

Come and try out some of The Open University’s virtual resources at our pop-up display! You will get a realistic insight into the structure of the heart using the Augmented Reality heart, learn more about what’s in our oceans using our Oceans Explorer app or you can simply challenge yourself to some mathematical puzzles using the Perplex maths puzzle app.

Feb 23

The greatest inequality in maths: acknowledgement of female success

Belfast

From Hypatia (murdered by a Christian mob in 415 CE) to Ada Lovelace (the enchantress of numbers) and Maryam Mirzakhani (the 2014 Fields medallist) there have been women who have loved mathematics and, often in defiance of the social and intellectual norms of the day, have shown themselves to be extremely good at it. The Open University’s Professor June Barrow-Green will introduce a number of these women, describe some of the difficulties they encountered and indicate what they managed to achieve. She will also look at the situation for women mathematicians today and describe some initiatives currently in place for tackling the gender gap in mathematics.

Feb 23

Taking a look at the rocks under our feet

Belfast

Come and investigate the rocks and minerals under your feet! In this event you will be able to look at real rock specimens and investigate them in more detail. This interactive exhibition will allow you to select a sample on display and to examine it using a hand lens. You will then be able to examine the same rock type using The Open University’s virtual rock kit – one of the resources found in the OpenScience Laboratory (an initiative developed by The Open University and the Wolfson Foundation).

Feb 24

Taking a look at the rocks under our feet

Belfast

Come and investigate the rocks and minerals under your feet! In this event you will be able to look at real rock specimens and investigate them in more detail. This interactive exhibition will allow you to select a sample on display and to examine it using a hand lens. You will then be able to examine the same rock type using The Open University’s virtual rock kit – one of the resources found in the OpenScience Laboratory (an initiative developed by The Open University and the Wolfson Foundation).

 

BBC/OU Partnership Press Event (BBC event - Invitation only)

To celebrate our longstanding partnership with the BBC and to mark our 50th anniversary, BBC Director General Tony Hall will be hosting a special reception event. We were the first university in the world to have the imagination and foresight to embrace the new technologies of television and radio. Our partnership with the BBC continues today enabling us to educate and inspire the widest possible audiences with landmark programming such as Blue Planet II, Horizon and Coast.

 

Mar 5

Inaugural Lecture series: Menopause and the workplace

Milton Keynes

It is very apt for Professor Jo Brewis to deliver her inaugural lecture in the week of International Women’s Day on a topic which is often regarded as taboo in wider society and in the workplace in particular.

Mar 7

National Apprenticeship Week webinar: Blaze a trail by investing in apprenticeships

Online

Apprenticeship Week runs from 4th to 8th March 2019 and we will be sharing how the OU has worked with organisations to address their skills gaps through our successful higher and degree apprenticeship programmes. We’ll be sharing some of our success stories from different sectors and will show how apprenticeships help employers develop both new and existing employees to realise their potential and future-proof their businesses in uncertain times. Webinar led by Phil Kenmore.

Mar 9

International Women's Day Event: Women of Fife

Rothes Hall, Glenrothes

Join us for a free day of talks, exhibitions, workshops and taster sessions all to celebrate Women of Fife. Enjoy a packed day including talks about Jennie Lee, a local MP and the founder of the Open University and Mary Somerville, a Burntisland native of international renown.

Mar 9

International Women's Day: Afternoon Tea in Fife

Lochgelly Centre, Fife

Celebrate this coming International Women's Day with us in an exclusive afternoon tea. The Open University in Scotland will have a Jennie Lee display at 'International Women's Day Afternoon Tea', held by ON with Fife Cultural Trust, Lochgelly Centre. Enjoy the afternoon with friends, family or perhaps even friends you haven't made yet and indulge in a delightful afternoon tea.

Mar 12

Inaugural Lecture: Fairness in knowing: How should we engage with the sciences?

Milton Keynes

Science has the power to influence our lives. This lecture with Professor Richard Hollman questions and explores how Science should be governed, represented and funded.

Mar 12

OpenTALKS: National Histories and National Identities; Brexit and Devolution, Past and Future

Cardiff

The Open University’s Dr Richard Marsden will explore how changing ideas about the past have contributed to the unprecedented existential challenges now facing the British state.

Mar 13

School of Physical Sciences Research Day – live-streaming

Milton Keynes

The School of Physical Sciences (SPS) is the most research active school within the Open University, with leading involvements in a wide range of research projects in Space Science, Astronomy, and Physics. All research active staff and researchers will be making three minute presentations highlighting their current research in order to give a flavour of the breadth and reach of the research in SPS. The timetable with times and titles of talks will be available shortly.

Mar 14

Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards

Milton Keynes

To mark our anniversary we are headline sponsor for the annual Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards which will celebrate education, training and skills development this year.

Mar 16

Aye Write Festival / Open University in Scotland Sponsored Talk 1

The Mitchell Library, Glasgow

"Laura Bates talks Misogynation". Chaired by Susan Stewart, Director, The OU in Scotland. Talk at 16.45-17.45 (Laura Bates) at The Mitchell Library. Laura Bates is a pioneering feminist, activist and bestselling author who has given a voice to thousands of women through her international Everyday Sexism project. In this collection of essays, Bates uncovers the sexism that exists in our relationships, our workplaces, our media, our homes, and on our streets, but which is also firmly rooted in our lifelong assumptions and in the actions and attitudes we explain away, defend and accept. Often dismissed as one-offs, veiled as ‘banter’ or described as ‘isolated incidents’, Misogynation joins the dots to reveal the true scale of discrimination and prejudice women face.

Mar 16

Aye Write Festival / Open University in Scotland Sponsored Talk 2

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

"How British Justice is Failing Women" with Helena Kennedy QC. Chaired by Ruth Wishart at 20.00 - 21.00, at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. In Eve Was Shamed Helena Kennedy forensically examines new evidence that women are still being discriminated against throughout the legal system, from the High Court (where only 21% of judges are women) to female prisons (where 84% of inmates are held for non-violent offences despite the refrain that prison should only be used for violent crime). The #MeToo campaign has been in part a reaction to those failures. In this richly detailed and shocking book, one of our most eminent human rights thinkers shows with force and fury that change for women must start at the heart of what makes society just.

Mar 19

An Introduction to the Social Worker Degree Apprenticeship webinar

Online

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

Belfast

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?

Belfast

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.

Mar 27

Imagine! Dead bodies, live minds

Belfast

How can popular culture’s fascination with true crime stories be used to make legal concepts captivating for wider audiences? Academics and lawyers from the Law Society of Ireland, Middlesex University and The Open University will showcase their collaborative Streetlaw teaching methodology which has been used to increase legal understanding in communities across Ireland and the UK. There will be an exciting hour-long, immersive workshop where participants will work in groups to investigate a real life murder case. This will be followed by an expert panel discussion to examine the techniques used to explore the case and highlight the importance of raising levels of public legal knowledge. This event will be delivered by Hugh McFaul, Lecturer in Law at The Open University. Suitable for ages 14+ Delivered as part of The Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas.

Mar 28

Imagine! Frankenstein and the hyena in petticoats

Belfast

This event will take a fresh look at Mary Shelley’s famous and much-loved novel, Frankenstein. Dr Alex Barber, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at The Open University, will consider the surprising presence of the author’s mother and father – philosophers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin – within the book. Using video clips, Alex will uncover the influence of Shelley’s parents on this novel, particularly her feminist mother, who was called ‘a hyena in petticoats’ by male critics. Brought up by an abusive father, Mary Wollstonecraft was forced to leave home and dedicated herself to her writing. She is perhaps best known for her revolutionary manifesto, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, one of the earliest books on feminism. She died 10 days after giving birth to Mary Shelley but, as we will hear in this fascinating talk, still lives on in the words of her daughter. No background knowledge of the book is required to enjoy this event. The discussion following the talk will touch on issues relating to the role of women in contemporary society. Suitable for ages 18+ Delivered as part of The Imagine Festival of Politics and Ideas.

Mar 29

Revisiting Modern Art & Modernism at the OU

Milton Keynes

This conference will explore the impact of OU art history courses and broadcast media, critically assessing how they inspired successive generations of OU undergraduate students by involving them directly in current - often closely fought - debates about modern art. Keynote lectures, panels and round-table discussions with eminent scholars in the field will cover a range of topics.

Apr 3

OpenTALKS History: British imperialist visions of Islamic States

Milton Keynes

From the mid-nineteenth century, men working in the highest levels of the British state, animated by the partition of the world among the imperial powers and fuelled by the idea of Britain as the ‘greatest Mohammedan power’, began to sketch out a vision for states under British tutelage in which Islam played a central role. This talk by John Slight will trace the trajectories of these putative Islamic states in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, the role played by Muslim leaders in them, and explain how this British imperial manipulation of Islam ultimately failed.

Apr 9

From frosty ashes of stars to the molecules of life: unravelling the chemical universe

Berrill Lecture Theatre, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA

Institute of Physics and The Open University Open Public Lecture series. Until less than a century ago astronomers believed the space between the stars, the interstellar medium, to be just that…empty space. But it wasn’t until the 1970s, with the discovery of interstellar formaldehyde, that we began to realise that there is more out there than meets the eye. Could the building blocks of life have originated in space? Speaker Dr Anita Dawes will focus on our current knowledge of how such molecules form in space and follow their journey through the birth of stars and planets. We will also look ahead at what may lie in store for research in astrochemistry with the forthcoming launch of the much-awaited James Webb Space Telescope, which may help uncover clues concerning the greatest challenge of all – understanding the molecular origin of life. Free public lecture. 19:30 to 20:30 followed by refreshments.

Apr 6-21

Edinburgh International Science Festival

Edinburgh

In honour of the 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, the 2019 Festival theme is Frontiers, exploring the boundaries of knowledge and the spirit of adventure and enquiry that drives science, technology, engineering and maths. Within this theme, specific areas of focus will include Healthcare Frontiers, Engineering Frontiers, Digital Frontiers, Environmental Frontiers and Planetary Frontiers.

Apr 15-17

Scottish Trades Union Congress’ (STUC) Annual Congress

Dundee

The OU is pleased to be hosting a fringe event at this Annual Congress on ‘Workplace learning: Unions taking the lead’ as well as hosting a stand for the duration of the Congress.

Apr 23

The OU celebrates a special Charter Day

The OU will celebrate its official birthday, the day the University was bestowed its Royal Charter in 1969. More information to follow.

Apr 23

STEM OpenTALKS: A Clockwork Universe & Near-Earth Asteroids

Double bill: The Clockwork Universe by Professor Andrew Norton. In his talk, the OU Professor of Astrophysics Education will describe some of his research into variable stars, illustrated with animations to show how observations of the brightest of stars and their spectra, can reveal hierarchical multiple eclipsing stars, pulsating stars, and rapidly rotating white dwarfs and neutron stars. Near-Earth Asteroids by Professor Simon Green. In his talk, the OU Professor of Planetary and Space Science will discuss his research into near-earth asteroids and the challenges for missions to prevent a potential future asteroid impact on the Earth.

Apr 24

The Open University at 50, Scottish Parliament Reception (Invitation only)

Edinburgh

The OU is delighted to be hosting a private stakeholder reception to celebrate the OU’s 50th anniversary, at The Scottish Parliament. This event is sponsored by Claire Baker MSP and will be attended by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

Apr 26

50th Anniversary Gala Concert

Milton Keynes

To help celebrate the role of music in the University, we are hosting a gala public concert and a showcase event for local schools. We are honoured that Dame Evelyn Glennie, DH, CBE, the internationally acclaimed professional percussionist, has agreed to be the soloist in both events. Dame Evelyn is an honorary graduate of the University, and passionately committed to music education for all.

May 8

The Open University Reading - at Crossways Festival 2019

Glasgow

The Open University in Scotland and The Open University in Ireland are collaborating as part of Crossways Festival 2019: The Irish Scottish Cultural and Literary Festival. This event draws on the expertise of OU creative writing tutors from both sides of the North Channel. Come along to hear readings by Maureen Boyle, Chris Powici, Lindsay Macgregor and Eoghan Walls.

May 9

Inside the Foreign Office: the challenge facing UK Foreign Policy

Aberystwyth, Wales

The BBC/OU Co-production, Inside the Foreign Office, captured the extraordinary world of the people working in some of the most complex and sensitive jobs in UK Government. The Open University’s Dr Edward Wastnidge and Dr William Brown worked as academic consultants on the series. They’ll present their contribution to this production and talk about the privileged access the series had to the fascinating world of British diplomats. The panel will then take a critical look at foreign policy issues that came out of the BBC series including local, national and international standpoints.

May 11

DunsPlayFest - Jules Horne Playwriting Workshop

Duns, Scottish Borders

The OU is delighted to be supporting Jules Horne's playwriting workshop at the upcoming DunsPlayFest. Jules Horne is a playwright, radio dramatist and fiction writer. She teaches creative writing as an Associate Lecturer at the OU in Scotland.

May 11

Melanie Reid at Ullapool Book Festival 2019

Ullapool, Scottish Highlands

The OU in Scotland is delighted to support this event with award-winning journalist Melanie Reid MBE, chaired by OU Honorary Graduate Ruth Wishart. Having broken her neck and back in a riding accident in 2010, Melanie writes her weekly Spinal Column in the Times Magazine and her memoir was published in March 2019.

May 15

50th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner (Invitation Only)

London

A black-tie dinner hosted by Baroness Martha Lane Fox to celebrate our achievements and our role in the future of education for our partners, donors and key stakeholders.

May 15

50th Anniversary Celebratory Dinner (Invitation Only)

Belfast

Celebrating 50 years with friends, family and students with a reception and dinner at Belfast City Hall. Hosted by the Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey.

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

Edinburgh

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 17-18

Open the Door: Scotland's Women Writers Festival

Glasgow

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

May 21

Inaugural Lecture series: Youth Crime and Justice: does age matter?

Milton Keynes

Many countries have separate criminal justice systems for young people and adults, but is age the differentiating factor that should be considered? In this lecture, Professor Jo Phoenix, Chair in Criminology, will argue that whilst understandable, the current system locks the debate about youth justice into recurring circular disagreements about justice, welfare and rights. Professor Phoenix will discuss different ways in which social circumstances and cultural context might be better placed to differentiate in both adult and youthful law-breaking.

May 22

The OU and Cyrenians: 50 Years of Opening Doors and Changing Lives

Edinburgh

This unique event marks half a century since the founding of both the OU and Cyrenians, who both exist to support people to realise their full potential and to flourish.

May 22

Celebrating 50 years of “Open” curriculum at The Open University

Milton Keynes

As The Open University celebrates its 50th anniversary, you are invited to join the Open Programme team in celebrating 50 years of multidisciplinary teaching and learning, both at the OU and across the wider higher education sector.

May 23

Hay Festival

Hay on Wye, Powys, Wales

The Hay Festival brings readers and writers together to share stories and ideas. Now worldwide, these festivals inspire, examine and entertain, inviting participants to imagine the world as it is and as it might be.

May 24

Lost at Sea – at Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival

Dumfries

The OU is delighted to support the opening night event at Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival 2019: Lost at Sea by Morna Young, presented by Perth Theatre at Horsecross Arts.

May 24-25

OpenDoors: Aristotle to Zephaniah

Milton Keynes

In tribute to The Open University's 50th anniversary, the Open Theatre Group (which recently celebrated its own 40th anniversary) is presenting a light-hearted miscellany of entertainment in celebration of all things educational, entitled 'Open Doors: Aristotle to Zephaniah'. This will be performed in the OU Hub theatre on Friday 24 May @7.30pm and Saturday 25 May @2.30pm. Tickets, priced at £6/£5 concessions, are obtainable online at http://www.theopentheatregroup.org.uk/or in person (lunchtimes only) from OTG chair, Michael Spours via opentheatregroup@gmail.com. Parents please note that some of the material is not suitable for young children… only one or two items may shock, but they may get bored!

Jun1-30

The Open University at 50: Standing with Pride

In addition to celebrating our 50th birthday, throughout June we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. We are proud of our social mission in opening education for all and our role in promoting and driving inclusivity and diversity. The OU is attending Pride events across the four nations alongside PLEXUS the OU Students Association LGBTQ+ group.

Jun 4

Inaugural Lecture: The idea of Social Justice in Innovation and Development

Milton Keynes

In this lecture Professor Theo Papaioannou will discuss why justice needs to provide the normative direction of innovation systems in the 21st century. He will argue that justice as such is a non-ideal standard which is significant for the legitimacy of emerging technologies and related developmental change.

Jun 7

'Be Jennie Lee' Film Screening

Lochgelly, Fife

The OU is pleased to be supporting the film screening of 'Be Jennie Lee' performances by seven primary schools from the Cowdenbeath area, inspired by the founder of the OU, Jennie Lee of Lochgelly.

Jun 8

How to get published

Belfast

We’re pleased to be partnering with Writers and Artists to bring a day of advice on the writing and publishing process. This full-day conference, held in the heart of Belfast, includes talks on various aspects of the writing journey from best-selling authors, a networking lunch and an informative interactive panel discussion with leading literary agents.

Jun 9

OU at Glasgow Science Festival - at the Riverside

Glasgow

The Open University, together with the University of Glasgow, is delighted to support the Glasgow Science Festival. Join us for a day of exploration, where you can try to build a bridge without using glue or fastenings, and you can become a crime scene investigator for the day!

Jun 12

Official opening of the EPEA Conference 2019

Dublin

National Director of The Open University in Ireland, John D’Arcy, will be officially opening the conference this year. Hosting a range of events and seminars around prisons and education, the EPEA conference is taking place from 12-16 June at TU Dublin City Campus.