Open University celebrates its 50th birthday in Milton Keynes

The Milton Keynes-based Open University is celebrating its 50th birthday this month by telling its remarkable story through the power of photographs.

The collection features former and current OU students, including a prisoner turned academic, a woman research pioneer in moon exploration and an ex-soldier who studied in the field with waterproofed books.

The Open University in MK

The Open University in MK

They are all taken by renowned British photographer Chris Floyd.

Floyd’s photographs include a portrait of OU researcher, Hannah Sargeant, who is studying for her PhD in planetary science.

Hannah is breaking boundaries as one of the only women in the field of moon exploration, and credits the OU with her career progression.

She said; “What The Open University has offered me is very unique – I’m able to do practical and potentially ground-breaking research in an institute that not only accepts, but encourages people who don’t fit an expected norm.”

Felix-Asare-Donkoh

Felix-Asare-Donkoh

Another of Floyd’s photographs features Felix Asare-Donkoh, who joined the army after A-levels, but still wanted to continue his education.

Rather than leave the armed forces, Felix joined the OU and gained his Bachelor of Engineering remotely while stationed overseas in Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. He even waterproofed his books so he could study in challenging conditions.

The OU’s Vice Chancellor Mary Kellett said: “We’ve come a long way since 1969. Our story is one that changes lives, pushes boundaries and challenges society to think differently about education. Our mission to be open to all, the way we teach, and our range of students are what makes the OU unique."

She added: "These photographs bring this to life brilliantly, with every image highlighting the reach, flexibility and diversity of the excellent education we offer and the tenacity and commitment of our students.”

Hannah Sargeant

Hannah Sargeant

You can view the collection at: www.50.open.ac.uk/photography