18 Jul 2013

Artists invited to capture "University of the Air" concept

University of the Air logo

University of the Air logo

The Open University (OU) is inviting artists around the UK to come up with innovative and imaginative ideas to depict its origins and promote its excellence in research.

Artists/companies are being sought for commissions from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to mark the 50th anniversary of Harold Wilson, former Prime Minister, first coining the phrase of creating a “University of the Air” back in 1963. This unique concept ultimately became The Open University in 1969, which still exists today as a University with an open entry, flexible means to study anywhere and the home of world-leading research.

Applicants are invited to present ways of creating a temporary arts commission – in collaboration with the OU’s offices across the nations – which is inspired by and helps communicate a specific area of the University’s research. The final arts commission, which could be a performance or installation, will also be expected to create a memorable and unique audience experience. The commissions will be shared publicly over three days in October/November 2013 at the four cities with nation centres and will cover four themes: Milton Keynes (design and technology), Belfast (arts and humanities), Cardiff (social sciences) and Edinburgh (science).

Artists/companies with an outstanding track record in delivering exemplary arts commissions to the public are invited to apply to design, develop and produce a new and original work for this project. Following the initial expressions of interest, three candidates will be chosen in each of the four nations and paid to research and develop their idea and submit a detailed proposal, working with the relevant OU nation office. From these, only four (one per nation) will be selected to develop and produce their work. Fees and further details of what is required and how to apply can be found on the OU's Research website here:
Expressions of interest must be receiveed by 1700 hrs on 2 August 2013.


Notes to Editors:

Project Background & Context

In 1963 Harold Wilson announced his plans for a “University of the Air” to promote educational opportunity and social justice by providing high-quality university education to all who wished to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential. The University of the Air became The Open University, receiving its Royal Charter in 1971. Since then, it has built up its reputation as a world class teaching and research university which contributes to knowledge, the economy and quality of life. With almost 250,000 students, The Open University is unique in providing flexible, open and on-line learning in all four nations of the UK. We would like to use this commission as an innovative and engaging way to celebrate and promote the best of what we can offer to raise awareness and increase public interest in our research activities.

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