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Dr Richard A Marsden

Profile summary

Professional biography

In 2016 I started my current role at the Open University, as a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in History. This involves designing and writing new modules, coordinating existing provision and line managing Associate Lecturers, and publishing research which will inform future developments in the curriculum. Previously I was a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff Metropolitan University and before that I worked as a Lecturer at Cardiff University. Prior to that I held concurrent roles as a Research Associate at the University of South Wales and a Faculty Manager and Associate Lecturer at the OU. My doctorate in History was awarded by the University of Glasgow and I also hold an MA in History from Cardiff University. 

Research interests

My primary interests relate to the ways in which ideas about the past have helped to shape identities in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present day. My recent monograph, entitled Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland's Past c.1825-1875, took a detailed look at that theme with regard to nineteenth-century Scotland. At the moment my research continues the focus on Scotland, but I am becoming increasingly interested in representations of the Middle Ages in Wales during the long nineteenth century. Current projects include:

  • The old Scottish parliament: record scholarship, national identity and the afterlife of a defunct institution
  • Texts, artefacts and specialisation in Scottish antiquarianism, 178-1920
  • Scottish record scholarship and the national past, 1707-2007

Teaching interests

I am currently leading the development of a new module called A329, the Making of Welsh History. This is an online dissertation module which will give students the opportunity to use Wales as a microcosm through which to explore some of the big themes in European history over the past thousand years. I am also a member of the module team for tthe MA in Local and Regional History, and supervise the UK-wide delivery of A327, Europe 1914-1989: War, Peace Modernity. In addition, I have taught on the following courses for the OU:

  • AA100, The Arts Past and Present
  • A172, Start Writing Essays
  • A182, Small Country, Big History: Themes in the History of Wales
  • A200, Exploring History: Medieval to Modern 1400-1900
  • AD281, Understanding Global Heritage

At Cardiff University and Cardiff Met I taught various topics related to British cultural and intellectual history in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These include modules on national identities, imperialism, medievalism, heritage studies and historical theory. Whilst at Cardiff University I also acted as pedagogic advisor on the institution’s first MOOC.

Prizes and awards

  • Winner of a Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award at Cardiff University (2014)
  • Shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize (2014)
  • Shortlisted for the Saltire Society History Book of the Year Prize (2014)
  • Awarded a Scouloudi publication grant by the Institute of Historical Research (2013)

Impact and engagement

Over the last few years i been involved in various research impact, community engagement and widening access activities. These include radio work, writing for newspapers, magazines and websites, and delivering public lectures, workshops and seminars. From 2012 to 2015 I ran the Exploring the Past pathway at Cardiff University, which provided a route through which adult learners without formal qualifications could progress directly onto degrees in History, Archaeology and Religious Studies. In the same period I convened the Exploring the Past Public Lecture Series and was involved with Cardiff University's CAER Heritage Project, winner of the 2014 Engage Prize from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. 

External collaborations

  • Honorary Research Fellow in History – Cardiff University, 2015-present
  • Curriculum Consultant - Agored Cumru Access to HE, 2013-present
  • External Examiner in Humanities – Aberystwyth University, 2012-16
  • Curriculum Consultant - WJEC Exam Board, 2012-14
  • Senior Examiner - OCR Exam Board, 2006-2011

Professional and Learned fellowships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Fellow of the Historical Association
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Educational Assessors



  • Marsden, R. A. (2014), Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland’s Past c. 1825-1875, Farnham, Ashgate Press

Journal Articles

  • Willis M., Waddington, K. & Marsden, R. A. (2013), ‘Imaginary investments: illness narratives beyond the gaze’, Journal of Literature and Science, vol.  6, pp. 55-73.
  • Marsden R. A. (2011), ‘Gerald of Wales and competing interpretations of the Welsh Middle Ages c. 1870-1910, Welsh History Review, vol. 25, pp. 18-49.

Book Chapters

  • Marsden, R. A. (2012), ‘Gerald of Wales; Welsh patriot or English Imperialist?’, in Heroes and Villains in Wales: a New History of Wales, H. Bowen (ed.), Llandysul, Gomer Press, pp. 45-5.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2010), ‘Scottish burgh record scholarship c. 1830-1880’ in Further from the Frontiers: Cross-currents in Irish and Scottish Studies, McNair, A. and Ryder, J. (eds.), Aberdeen, AHRC Centre for Scottish and Irish Studies, pp. 75-87.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2008), ‘Editing the past; Cosmo Innes and the Scottish medieval church’, in Signs, Symbols and Words; Proceedings of the Cardiff University Reading Conference 2007, Smith A., Tennant, K. and Webb, J. (eds.), Cardiff, Cardiff Humanities Research Institute, pp. 13-30.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2005), ‘Race and imperialism: twelfth-century English attitudes towards Scotland’, in A Panorama of Scottish History: Contemporary Considerations, Kehoe, S. and MacPhail, I. (eds.), Glasgow, Glasgow University Press, pp. 10-23.

Encyclopaedia Entries

  • Marsden, R. A. (2016), ‘Innes, Cosmo Nelson (1798-1874), antiquary’, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: from the Earliest Times to the Year 2000, ed. H. C. G. Matthew & B. Harrison, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Jacobite rising (1745–46)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. I, pp. 1124-6.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Stuart, Charles Edward (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) (1720–88)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. IV, pp. 2094-6.
  • Brough, G and Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Anglo-Welsh wars (1067-1415)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. I, pp. 102-6.
  • Brough, G and Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Llywelyn the Great (c.1173-1240)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. III, pp. 1262-3.
  • Brough, G and Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Gwynedd, Owain (1137-1170)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. II, pp. 967-9.
  • Brough, G and Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Rhys ap Gruffudd (1132-1197)’ in The Encyclopaedia of War, Martel, G. (ed.), Oxford, Wiley-Blackwell, vol. IV, pp. 1815-8.

Book Reviews

  • Marsden, R. A. (2015), ‘Review of James. J. Coleman, Remembering the Past in Nineteenth-Century Scotland: Commemoration, Nationality and Memory’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies 35, pp. 247-9
  • Marsden, R. A. (2012,), ‘Review Essay: Alex Benchimol, Intellectual Politics and Cultural Conflicts in the Romantic Period (2010); Richard J. Hill, Picturing Scotland through the Waverley Novels (2012)’, Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture 1780-1840, issue 20, pp. 74-8.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2011), ‘Review of National Museums: New Studies from Around the World, edited by S. Knell, P. Aronssson, A. Amundsen, P, A. Barnes, S. Burch, J. Carter, V. Gosselin, S. Hughes and A. Kirwan’, Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites 13.1, pp. 84-5.
  • Marsden, R. A. (2010), ‘Review of Wyatt, D., Slaves and Warriors in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800-1200’, Kelvingrove Review 5 (online)

Magazines, Newspapers, Websites

  • Marsden, R. A. and Bestic, P. (February 2017), 'The weakness of European Wales', Planet: the Welsh Internationalist, vol. 225, pp. 29-36
  • Marsden, R. A. (5 September 2014), ‘The real reason Yes Scotland avoids Braveheart nostalgia’, The Conversation, available at
  • Willis M., Waddington, K. & Marsden, R. A. (2013), Off Sick Project Online Exhibition, available at
  • Marsden, R. A. (March 2012), ‘The antiquarian photography of Cosmo Innes’, History Scotland, vol. 12.3, pp. 30-5.
  • Marsden, R. (25 March 2011), ‘Gerald of Wales: patriotic Welshman or arrogant agent of English imperialism?’, Western Mail, pp. 27-9.
  • Marsden, R A.. (16 November 2010), ‘Time to consign this view of the past to the history books’, Western Mail, p. 18.

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