11 Feb 2014

The Open University supports IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014



The Open University is once again supporting IF: Milton Keynes International Festival in 2014, sponsoring the ‘Chorus’ sound and light installation by renowned artist and composer, Ray Lee, who won the British Composer of the Year 2012 for Sonic Art. The Festival runs from 18-27 July at various sites across Milton Keynes and is listed as one of the top 100 festivals by The Sunday Times.

‘Chorus’ is an impressive series of giant metal tripods with rotating arms which tower above the audience. At the end of each arm loudspeakers emit a pulsating, harmonic sound and lights create the effect of a whirling swarm of fireflies, or planets in motion. These intersecting lights trace rings above the heads of the audience, while the combined chorus of the spinning speakers creates a cohesive harmonious whole that is transfixing and uplifting.

Ray Lee

Ray Lee

Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications at The Open University, said: “Ray Lee is fascinated by invisible forces such as magnetism and uses technology in very unique ways to create his inspiring works. This chimes with the legacy of the OU, which has always been creative in using the technology of the day to help people learn. We are delighted to be supporting the Festival and strengthen our links with Milton Keynes – a city which, like the OU, is celebrated for its innovation and creativity.”

Monica Ferguson, Festival Director of IF: Milton Keynes International Festival said: “The Open University’s support for the Festival is an example of how partnership working can enrich our experience of the city by enabling this extraordinary work by an award-winning international artist and composer to come to Milton Keynes for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. ‘Chorus’ is a highlight of our programme celebrating 10 amazing days in July.”

The ‘Chorus’ tripods will be located in three different sites in Central Milton Keynes, creating different contexts, sounds and experiences in each place.

Notes to Editors

About The Open University
Over the past three years the University has increased its participation in civic, cultural and business events through sponsorship of the MK International Festival, membership of DestinationMK, the Milton Keynes Economic Development Forum and MK Business Council. In addition, it has sponsored CBI national and regional events.

The Open University (OU) is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has more than 200,000 current students, including more than 15,000 overseas.

The OU is rated in the top five of UK universities for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, since the survey began in 2005. In 2012/13 it had a 92% satisfaction rating. Over 70% of students are in full-time or part-time employment, and four out of five FTSE 100 companies have sponsored staff to take OU courses.

In the UK’s latest Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) The Open University was ranked in the top third of UK higher education institutions. More than 50% of OU research was assessed in the RAE as internationally excellent, with 14% as world leading.

Regarded as Britain’s major e-learning institution, the OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale. Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which received 5.2million unique visitors in 2012/13, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 60 million downloads. The OU has a 41 year partnership with the BBC which has moved from late-night lectures in the 1970s to prime-time programmes such as Frozen Planet, Bang Goes the Theory, James May’s Big Ideas and The Money Programme.

IF: Milton Keynes International Festival
The International Festival takes place from 18 to 27 July 2014, presenting a world-class, multi-arts programme which includes large-scale and family events, concerts, theatre, dance, music and visual arts installations in unusual locations across Central Milton Keynes, including parks, public squares, and the online and digital realm. Produced by The Stables, IF: Milton Keynes International Festival 2014 has been developed with support of Arts Council England and Milton Keynes Council.

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