16 Sep 2013

The Open University celebrates research with public art

University of the Air

University of the Air

Four artists from each nation of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have been awarded commissions by The Open University (OU) to create new works of public art. Fifty years on from Harold Wilson’s concept of a ‘University of the Air’, the artworks will promote and celebrate the impact that the OU’s research has had on society and reflect how far the OU has evolved from Wilson’s vision.

From an immersive sound experience to an interactive 3D visual projection, the projects reflect the very modern and progressive nature of the OU today. The four artists chosen are:
• Caroline Devine (England) who is developing an immersive, multi-speaker, sound experience across walkways and public spaces on the OU’s Milton Keynes campus
• Carrie Neely (Northern Ireland) who is developing a series of light installations at the Open University building in Belfast, and at Belfast’s City Hall to celebrate Creative Writing and research in Digital Humanities
• Wiretrace (Scotland) who are producing a series of immersive performances using 3D and pop up images in a blacked out space
• Steve Geliot, Tanja Raman and Jo Fong (Wales) have been commissioned to produce an innovative arts presentation using large scale back projection, recorded soundtrack, animation and filmed content together with live and filmed dance at the historic ‘Tramshed’ in Cardiff.

Pro Vice Chancellor for Research, Scholarship and Quality at The Open University, Professor Tim Blackman, said:
“In 1963 Harold Wilson coined the phrase ‘University of the Air’ in a speech at a Glasgow Concert Hall. His vision eventually became The Open University. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of this speech, we have commissioned four exciting and innovative artworks. Talented artists will celebrate different themes from the OU’s world-leading research in design and technology, arts and humanities, science and the social sciences. The artworks promise something for everyone - I am really looking forward to seeing the projects come to life across the UK.”
The artworks will be unveiled at a series of special events around the country in October and November. To keep updated with progress visit our website at:

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