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Dr Richard Marsden

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer in History with expertise in how representations of the past have informed identities in the UK from the eighteenth centuryt to the present day. I am currently Academic Lead for the Open University's relationshipo with the Open College of the Arts. Previously I was Director of Teaching for the School of Arts and Humanities

Career History

  • Senior Lecturer (History) – Open University, 2020-present
  • Lecturer and Staff Tutor (History) – Open University, 2016-2020
  • Senior Lecturer (Online Learning) – Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2014-2016
  • Lecturer and Pathway Coordinator (History) – Cardiff University, 2011-2014
  • Research Associate (Humanities) – University of South Wales, 2010-2011
  • Associate Lecturer (Arts) – Open University, 2009-2012
  • Associate Lecturer (Humanities) – Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2007-2010
  • Associate Lecturer (History) – Cardiff University, 2006-2009
  • Registry Officer – Cardiff Metropolitan University, 2005-2008


  • PhD in Modern History – University of Glasgow, 2010
  • MA in Medieval History – Cardiff University, 2001
  • BA in History – Cardiff University, 1999

Research interests

I am really interested in how ideas about the past inform notions of identity, especially in relation to Scotland and Wales, from the eighteenth century to the present day. In particular, I have done a lot of work on antiquarianism and medievalism. Click the 'publications' tab for details.  My current project, Blaenau Gwent REACH, was funded by UKRI and uses the creative arts as a means of exploring the intersections between heritage and identity in a post-industrial region of South Wales. 

Teaching interests

At the moment I an Academic Lead for the university's acquisition of the Open College of the Arts (OCA). The aim of is to enable the OU to enhance its existing Arts and Humanities provision by offering, through the OCA, courses in the creative arts and industries. I am also a Workstream Lead in an institution-wide academic conduct review, and am leading a project investigating graduate outcomes and the teaching of employability in the Arts and Humanities. 
Previous roles include:
  • Convener of the Instituional Chairs of Boards of Studies Group (2021-22)
  • Director of Teaching, Arts and Humanities (2019-22)
  • Deputy Module Chair for A113, Revolutions (2018-22)
  • Scholarship Lead, Arts and Humanities (2018-19)
  • Module Chair for A329, the Making of Welsh History (2016-19)

 Other OU modules that I have worked on in various capacities include:

  • AA100 The Arts Past and Present
  • A172 Start Writing Essays
  • A182 Themes in the History of Wales
  • A200 Exploring History Medieval to Modern
  • AD281 Understanding Global Heritage
  • A327, Euopre 1918-1989; War Peace, Modernity
  • A825 andf A826, MA in History Parts 1 and 2 (old pathway)
  • A883 and A884, MA in History Parts 1 and 2 (new pathway)

Impact and engagement

I have written for various newspapers, magazines and websites, featured on the radio several times, and coordinated public lecture series at the Open University and Cardiff University.  My Blaenau Gwent REACH project, meanwhile, involves working directly with disadvantaged and marginalised communities in the South Wales Valleys.

PhD supervision

I am interested in supervising PhD research in national identities, antiquarianism, historical writing, medievalism and heritage studies, particularly in relation to Scotland and Wales since the eighteenth century. I am currently supervising the following projects: 
  • Impossible antiquities: Scottish Enlightenment nationalist identities and reactions to historical revisionism
  • A true repository of the Gwerin or a romanticised hiraeth? St Fagans and the constructions of Welsh-as-folk, 1846-71

External collaborations

  • Caollaborative doctoral Award with National Museums Wales, 2023-ff.
  • Validation Panel Chair for various OU partner instituions, 2019-2022
  • Honorary Research Fellow in History at Cardiff University, 2015-2021
  • Curriculum Consultant for Agored Cymru's Access to HE framework, 2013-2018
  • External Examiner in Humanities at Aberystwyth University, 2012-2016
  • Curriculum Consultant for WJEC Exam Board, 2012-2014
  • Senior Examiner at the OCR Exam Board, 2006-2011

Professional fellowships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society



[Book Review] The First Scottish Enlightenment: Rebels, Priests and History. By Kelsey Jackson Williams (2021-09-27)
Marsden, Richard
Scottish Historical Review, 100(2) (pp. 293-295)

In defiance of discipline: antiquarianism, archaeology and history in late nineteenth-century Scotland (2020-11)
Marsden, Richard
Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 40(2) (pp. 103-133)

Towsey, Reading History in Britain and America, c.1750-1840 (2020-04)
Marsden, Richard
Scottish Historical Review, 99(1) (pp. 164-165)

Medievalism: New discipline or scholarly no-man’s land? (2018-02-01)
Marsden, Richard A.
History Compass, 16, Article e12439(2)

Scottish parliamentary record scholarship in the devolution era (2018)
Marsden, Richard
Parliaments, Estates and Representations, 39(1) (pp. 113-132)

The Weakness of European Wales (2017)
Marsden, Richard and Bestic, Penni
Planet: the Welsh Internationalist, 225 (pp. 29-36)

[Book Review] Remembering the Past in Nineteenth-Century Scotland: Commemoration, Nationality and Memory (2015)
Marsden, Richard
Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 35(2) (pp. 247-249)

Imaginary investments: Illness Narratives Beyond the Gaze (2013)
Marsden, Richard; Willis, Martin and Waddington, Keir
Journal of Literature and Science, 6(1) (pp. 55-73)

The antiquarian photography of Cosmo Innes (2012-05)
Marsden, Richard
History Scotland Magazine, 12(3) (pp. 30-35)

Gerald of Wales and Competing Interpretations of the Welsh Middle Ages c. 1870-1910 (2011-07-01)
Marsden, Richard
Welsh History Review, 25(3) (pp. 314-345)

Book Review: Alex Benchimol, Intellectual Politics and Cultural Conflicts in the Romantic Period (2010); Richard J. Hill, Picturing Scotland through the Waverley Novels (2012) (2011)
Marsden, Richard
Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture 1780-1840, 20 (pp. 74-78)

[Book Review] National Museums: New Studies from Around the World (2011)
Marsden, Richard
Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites, 13(1) (pp. 84-85)

Book Review: Slaves and Warriors in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland, 800-1200 by Dr. David Wyatt (2010)
Marsden, Richard
The Kelvingrove Review, 5, Article 9

Cosmo Innes and the Defence of Scotland's Past c.1825-1875 (2014-08-20)
Marsden, Richard A.
ISBN : 978-1-4094-5593-6 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

Innes, Cosmo Nelson (1798-1874), antiquary (2016-05-26)
Marsden, Richard A.
In: Cannadine, David ed. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Gerald of Wales; Welsh patriot or English Imperialist? (2012)
Marsden, Richard
In: Bowen, H.V. ed. Heroes and Villains in Welsh History: A New History of Wales (pp. 45-51)
ISBN : 9781848514850 | Publisher : Gomer Press | Published : Llandysul

Jacobite rising (1745–46) (2011)
Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 1124-1126)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Stuart, Charles Edward (“Bonnie Prince Charlie”) (1720–88) (2011)
Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 2094-2096)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Anglo-Welsh wars (1067-1415) (2011)
Brough, Gideon and Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 102-106)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Llywelyn the Great (c.1173-1240) (2011)
Brough, Gideon and Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 1262-1263)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Gwynedd, Owain (1137-1170) (2011)
Brough, Gideon and Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 967-969)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Rhys ap Gruffudd (1132-1197) (2011)
Brough, Gideon and Marsden, Richard
In: Martel, Gordon ed. The Encyclopaedia of War (pp. 1815-1818)
ISBN : 9781444338232 | Publisher : Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Scottish Burgh Record Scholarship c. 1830-1880 (2009)
Marsden, Richard
In: McNair, Aimee and Ryder, Jacqueline eds. Further from the Frontiers: Crosscurrents in Irish and Scottish Studies (pp. 75-87)
ISBN : 978-1-906108-06-9 | Publisher : AHRC Centre for Scottish and Irish Studies | Published : Aberdeen

Race and imperialism: twelfth-century English attitudes towards Scotland (2004)
Marsden, Richard
In: Kehoe, S and MacPhiail, I eds. A Panorama of Scottish History: Contemporary Considerations (pp. 10-23)
Publisher : Glasgow University Press | Published : Glasgow

Blaenau Gwent REACH Summary Report (2021-08-01)
Marsden, Richard
Open University in Wales, Cardiff.

Blaenau Gwent REACH Online Exhibition (2021-07-07)
Marsden, Richard and Ford, Elizabeth
The OU in Wales, Cardiff.

National histories and national identities: Brexit and devolution, past and future (2019-05-01)
Marsden, Richard
OpenTALKS History Lecture, Open University

Game of Thrones: imagined world combines romantic and grotesque visions of Middle Ages (2018-10-17)
Marsden, Richard
The Conversation

Brexit and the mythologies of nationalism: a warning for Wales (2018-07-25)
Marsden, Richard
History and Policy

Henry Tudor: a Welsh hero...? (2018-01-12)
Marsden, Richard
OpenLearn, The Open University, Milton Keynes.

Who was St David? (2016-02-28)
Marsden, Richard
OpenLearn, Open University in Wales, Cardiff.

The real reason Yes Scotland avoids Braveheart nostalgia (2014-09-05)
Marsden, Richard
The Conversation

Off Sick Project Online Exhibition (2013)
Willis, Martin; Waddington, Keir and Marsden, Richard
University of South Wales

Gerald of Wales: patriotic Welshman or arrogant agent of English imperialism? (2011-03-24)
Marsden, Richard
Trinity Mirror

Time to consign this view of the past to the history books (2010)
Marsden, Richard
Trinity Mirror