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Local engagement

The John Hewitt Society

The Open University has worked in partnership with the John Hewitt Society since 2010 to host Creative Writing workshops at its annual Summer School in the Marketplace Theatre, Armagh. Associate Lecturers from The Open University devise and deliver workshops on themes such as memoir, poetry, script, historical fiction etc. and help to curate a reading session on the last day of the School, where participants can present their work to an audience. The workshops attract around 45 participants each year, and staff involved to date have been: Heather Richardson, Maureen Boyle, Nessa O'Mahony, Csilla Toldy, Andrea McCartney and Eoghan Walls.

The John Hewitt International Summer School is one of the longest running and most established of Ireland’s literary festivals – having begun in the Glens of Antrim over 25 years ago and more recently establishing itself in Armagh – the county connected to Hewitt’s birthplace.

Culture Night

The Open University has taken part in Culture Night Belfast since 2012.

Culture Night is Belfast's largest, most exciting and inclusive cultural celebration. Now in its ninth year, Culture Night brings together over 250 free events across 100 locations in Belfast City Centre in a single day. The event attracts over 80,000 visitors from Belfast, Northern Ireland and beyond.

Each year, The Open University hosts an event where our very own Creative Writing students recite their original poetry ad prose. We also have an open mic session which allows members of the public to come along and recite some of their own work.


Northern Ireland Science Festival

NI Science Festival

The Open University has taken part in the NI Science Festival since it began in 2015.

The NI Science Festival is an annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and takes place in February each year. With 63,000 attendees and 150 events across 30 venues, the Festival is one of the largest celebrations of STEM in Europe.

View our video from the first ever NI Science Festival and read more about the type of events we have hosted in the past.

Library events

Our information events are designed to bring The Open University to each constituency in Northern Ireland. Over the past four years we have delivered 104 library events in towns throughout the six counties in Northern Ireland from Coleraine to Newry and Bangor to Omagh.

We encourage people to pop in and speak to our Associate Lecturers who can help with queries about studying with the OU.  The aims of the information events are to raise awareness of the OU amongst the general public at a local level and attract new students.

Keep an eye on our events page to see what’s happening in your local area. We hope to see you at our next information session!

Festival of Ideas and Politics

Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics 

The Open University has taken part in the Imagine! Festival of Ideas and Politics since 2016.

The Festival of Ideas and Politics is an annual event organised in March keen to promote debate on the big issues of our time. The aim is to encourage participation from people not normally involved in political debate and stimulate a discussion on new ideas and activism.

Each year the festival gives us the opportunity to showcase our academics and their research to a wider audience.


ERSC logo

ESRC Festival of Social Science 

The Open University has taken part in the ESRC Festival of Social Science since 2015. The festival in Northern Ireland is coordinated and developed by The Open University, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

This year, The Open University was the lead partner in the organisation of the festival alongside Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. The festival aims to open up leading research to new audiences, bringing social science into the public domain, and showing how the discipline influences our social, economic and political lives both now and in the future.

OU academics were able to discuss fascinating topics around Brexit and the boarder between north and south, a fascinating exploration of Wynne Godley's life and how he predicted the financial crisis, research found on inequalitiy in sport and lots more. 

If you are interested in reading more click here

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