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What is Open Politics?

Open Politics is a student-focused initiative which aims to:

  • Further the politics and international studies (POLIS) OU student community
  • Bring politics and parliaments closer to students
  • Be student-led in design and scope of activities.

The three main areas of activity we are currently working on are:

  • Working with students to create an academic community
  • Providing the opportunity for students to interact with UK parliaments and attend politics and international studies related events
  • Working with the Houses of Parliament as a partner of UK Parliament Week.

Our ambition is for Open Politics to be student-led, with OU POLIS academics and students working in partnership to further the ambitions and interests of students, promote the study of and interest people have in politics, and create better links between the OU and UK political institutions.

The project is led by OU POLIS academics, Donna Smith, Andy O’Cain and Ed Wastnidge.

Please contact Donna Smith for more information.

This page will be updated with activities, events, and news – watch this space!

The ‘Changemakers’ project: working with UK Parliament Week

photo UK Parliament logo

Find out more about the 'Changemakers' project in this short video:

This year The Open University was a new partner of UK Parliament Week (UKPW). Building on both our own values and the aims of UKPW, we set out to engage as many students as possible, as well as the general public, in making a difference through learning about democratic and civil engagement. We did this through our ‘Changemakers’ project.

The 'Changemakers' project: working with UK Parliament Week</h3> <p><img alt=" icon="" parliament="" week="">Find out more about the 'Changemakers' project in this short video:

What next?

We were thrilled to receive positive feedback about Changemakers from Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP (The Speaker of the House of Commons) and The Rt Hon the Lord Fowler (The Lord Speaker), who said: “This year, UK Parliament Week reached almost one million people. I think this is a number that should be celebrated throughout the nations. I am delighted to hear that your energy and enthusiasm for UKPW has helped Changemakers become such a big and inspiring project. The collaboration video, joining up Changemakers and UKPW, has had a fantastic effect, engaging OU students and many more across the higher education sector and beyond. The UK Parliament Week team look forward to working with you again next year to build on this successful collaboration and make both #UKPW and #ChangeMakers bigger and better. I believe that together, we can make a mark and bring the people together to talk about what matters to them.”

Keep an eye out in 2021 for stage 2 of Changemakers. We plan to put together a student-led guide on how to make change, using the submissions as inspiration, available to OU students as well as the public, working with Parliament. Watch this space!

1984 public engagement event

This OU Politics event celebrated the recent 70th anniversary of George Orwell’s 1984 whilst also considering the legacies and future of authoritarianism.  The panellists, which included authors Dorian Lynskey and D.J Taylor, discussed 1984 and modern parallels, 21st century authoritarianism, the impact of the media and what this means for democracy. Students sent in questions on the night.

Fancy watching again? Or couldn’t make the original date? You can catch up here.

Do you agree with the interpretations of 1984 presented in the webinar? What are your own thoughts on the future of authoritarianism: are countries/leaders/politics becoming more authoritarian? Is it just a ‘right wing’ issue? Is democracy under threat?

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