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Dr Richard Marsden

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am a Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor in History, and am currently Director of Teaching for the School of Arts and Humanities. Having worked at several conventional universities between 2005 and 2016, I am very happy to be here at the OU now. That’s because adult learners are definitely the best kind of student to work with!
As a historian I look at the ways in which ideas about the past have helped to shape national identities in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present day. As a teacher I am interested in enabling distance learners to work together rather than in isolation, whilst at the same time giving them greater choice about how and what they study.  

Career History

  • Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor (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 history and heritage inform notions of identity. My research in that area has tended to focus on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, especially in relation to Scotland and Wales. Click the 'publications' tab for details
Recently I won a £37,500 grant from UKRI to work with community members in the South Wales Valley in exploring their own sense of heritage and identity through the creative arts. This project is called 'BG Reach' (Blaenau Gwent Residents Engaging in Arts, Community and Heritage), and will culminate in an interactive echibition to be toured around Wales and beyond. 

Teaching interests

My current roles include:
  • Director of Teaching (Arts and Humanities)
  • Deputy Module Team Chair for A113, Revolutions
I was previously Scholarship of Teaching Lead for the School of Arts and Humanities, and led on the production of A329, the Making of Welsh History. 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 and A826, MA in History Parts 1 and 2

Prizes and awards

  • Recipient of an Open University Merit Award (2018)
  • Shortlisted for the Royal Historical Society Whitfield Prize (2015)
  • Winner of a Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award at Cardiff University (2014)
  • Shortlisted for the Saltire Society History Book of the Year Prize (2014)
  • Awarded a Scouloudi publication grant by the Institute of Historical Research (2013)
  • Highly commended by the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (2012)

Impact and engagement

I founded the OU’s History Lecture Series, which opens a window onto the exciting research being conducted by historians at the Open University. Previously I convened Cardiff University's Exploring the Past Lecture Series, and was involved in the award-winning CAER Heritage Project.
Over the last decade I have written for various newspapers, magazines and websites, made radio appearances, and delivered numerous public lectures and workshops. The details of some of these can be found under the ‘publications’ tab above.

External collaborations

  • Validation Panel Chair - OU partner instituions, 2019-2020
  • Honorary Research Fellow in History – Cardiff University, 2015-present
  • Curriculum Consultant, Access to HE - Agored Cumru, 2013-18
  • External Examiner in Humanities – Aberystwyth University, 2012-16
  • Curriculum Consultant - WJEC Exam Board, 2012-14
  • Senior Examiner - OCR Exam Board, 2006-11

Professional and Learned fellowships

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



[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

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.

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.

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