Archive for June 14th, 2016

Pygmalion, Zeus and OU slippers

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

On 11th June, Jess Hughes and Dan Weinbren discussed how Greek myths have been employed to help us understand the history of the OU. Professor Sewart argued that the OU was like Athena, in that it sprang forth, fully armed, from the head of Zeus. However, Dan Weinbren suggested that this myth marginalised the longer roots of the OU in 18thC part-time courses for adults, nineteenth century correspondence courses and 20th century radio and television. It also marginalised the role of women, notably Jennie Lee, and the role of the state and the market.

We also discussed the value and uses of Ovid’s ‘Pygmalion’ tale, updated by Bernard Shaw just prior to the First World War and again in the film ‘My Fair Lady’ before there was another incarnation in the 1980s with ‘Educating Rita’.

In addition, we considered if the slippers and wellies story, now so frequently retold, was a myth of the OU. See here for the discussion.