It’s a real pleasure to give a warm welcome from Thinking Allowed to Open University students and visitors to this OpenLearn Website.
I’ve been presenting Thinking Allowed now for over thirteen years and I’m still constantly pleased and surprised by the originality and the social significance of the research which the programme covers in its weekly half-hour slot.
I believe that one of its great strengths is a refusal to be hidebound by a single discipline. Nearly all our contributors are academic social scientists but over the years we’ve found space not just for sociologists, but also for social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists, geographers and economists.
After all what interests our listeners is not the academic background of the researcher but the light which their work throws upon society and its institutions.
I’m also hugely impressed by the quality and quantity of the feedback we receive from listeners. This allows me to believe that the programme has done something to challenge the lazy assumption that social scientists are only truly happy when they’re trading incomprehensible concepts with their fellow academics.
These have given me particular personal pleasure because of my awareness of the important work the OU has done over the years to design highly accessible but intellectually rigorous courses in social sciences. I can still remember how many of my fellow teachers at the University of York used to regard these courses as models upon which to base their own teaching.
Our new connection with the OU promises to be as fruitful as it was in the past. We hope you enjoy the programmes and find them stimulating and relevant. Let us know what you think. We’re listening.