OU research seeks to bring the classical world to the widest possible modern audience.
The Open University is an international centre for Classical Receptions, a field of research which analyses changing and creative responses to classical texts in a range of fields of modern culture. This is exemplified in the work of Professor Helen King which investigates uses of the ancient world in medicine from the sixteenth century to the present day. She works with modern medical practitioners, using insights from the past to help them better understand their patients’ needs, and how they can help patients come to terms with their illnesses. Dr Laura Swift has been working with theatre company Potential Difference to explore fragments of ancient plays in order to consider the theme of fragmentation in modern experiences of life, communication, and how we relate to the past.
The OU’s Digital Classics research group is changing the way that information about the ancient world is found and can be used. Its Pelagios project has developed an infrastructure through which archaeological, literary or visual online material about the ancient world can be brought together, empowering professionals and the general enthusiast to discover the cities of antiquity and explore the rich interconnections between them. The open-data service technology championed by Pelagios is now the de facto international standard for open linked geospatial data concerning the ancient world.
OU researchers share their findings through YouTube, iTunes U and Facebook. Tasters of more than 20 Classical Studies modules are available on iTunes U and YouTube and have had hundreds of thousands of views and downloads. Our vodcast series Classics Confidential, which disseminates OU Classics research, uses Twitter and Facebook.