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The Open University Brings Blue Planet to Wales


The Open University in Wales hosted a free lecture on 28 March with two leading academics who worked on the award-winning BBC / OU co-production Blue Planet II. Dr Mark Brandon and Dr Phil Sexton spoke to an audience of over 200 at the National Museum in Cardiff about their experiences of working on the programme, the science behind the series, and the enormous impact the programmes have had on public behaviour and environmental awareness.

Dr Brandon, a polar oceanograher, and Dr Sexton, a palaeoceanographer, have spent years working in oceans all around the world including Antarctica, the Atlantic and the Arctic. They were part of the OU team who worked as academic consultants on Blue Planet II.  Dr Brandon has also worked with Sir David Attenborough on other co-productions such as Frozen Planet and Coast.

The event was hosted by The Open University in Wales and held in partnership with the Learned Society of Wales.  The lecture was introduced by the Director of the OU in Wales Louise Casella.

Ms Casella said:

“The OU and BBC partnership is longstanding and has developed from late night TV programming to a collection of award-winning and ground-breaking programmes across a range of BBC channels.

“We were delighted to welcome Dr Brandon and Dr Sexton to Cardiff to share their vast knowledge and fascinating experiences with us.  Blue Planet II had a significant impact and we hope that the lecture and the series will inspire people to learn more about our oceans and the science within them.”

The lecture covered the lessons we can learn for the future by studying our oceans, the impact of climate change on our oceans and the food chain, the scientific research that drove the programme making, and the impact that the series has had on our awareness of plastics and other pollution.

The Open University is the largest provider of part-time, flexible higher education in Wales and the lecture was the closing event in a series of activities organised by the OU in Wales to mark British Science Week with the aim of demonstrating how science can be studied outside of the laboratory.

 About The Open University in Wales

 The Open University is the largest provider of part-time undergraduate higher education in Wales. It is a world leader in providing innovative and flexible distance learning opportunities at higher education level.

 Over 7000 students from virtually every community in Wales are currently studying with The Open University.  More than three out of four Open University students are in employment while they study.

 The Open University is the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible distance learning. Since it began in 1969, the OU has taught more than 1.8 million students and has 173,000 current students, including over 15,000 overseas.

The OU is a world leader in developing technology to increase access to education on a global scale.  Its vast ‘open content portfolio’ includes free study units on OpenLearn, which has had more than 39 million visits, and materials on iTunes U, which has recorded more than 70 million downloads.