Articles by Kath Bates

Dr Kathryn Bates is a graduate of archaeology and history. She has excavated across the world as an archaeologist, and tutored medieval history at Leicester University. She joined the administrative team at Oxford Open Learning twelve years ago. Alongside her distance learning work, Dr Bates is a bestselling novelist, and an itinerant creative writing tutor for primary school children.


The Origins of Democracy

The Greek word ‘demokratia,’ when translated literally, means ‘people power,’ and referred to the ‘masses’ having a say in the running of their region.

The Plague

What Part Did Eyam Play Against The Plague?

Whilst medical practise didn’t take note of what the villagers of Eyam had achieved straight away, slowly the procedures they had adopted were copied, such as quarantine zones to limit or prevent the spread of disease.

Flash Fiction

How can Flash Fiction Improve your Writing?

One of the reasons flash fiction is such a good tool for the aspiring writer is that it helps to teach you how to make an instant impact.

The Mona Lisa

da Vinci: 500 Years Into a Foreseen Future?

Da Vinci is famed not only for his painting, but for having sketched designs for such things as bicycles, helicopters and parachutes hundreds of years before they were actually invented. He had an endless capacity for learning, and is quoted as saying, “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall: Frontier or Border?

In reality, Hadrian’s Wall never formed any part of the border between England and Scotland… at the time of its construction the two kingdoms did not officially exist.

Open University

The Open University at 50

Prior to the OU, there had long been a belief that university education was the province of the rich. It was considered beyond the remit of the poorer classes – not to mention being too expensive.

The Death of Julius Caesar

“Beware the Ides of March”

Only two years after his appointment as Emperor, in 46BC, Caesar was to become a victim of the very political unrest he’d used to elevate himself to power.

Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi’s First Wireless Transmission

“…looking back and thinking of those early instruments, we cannot but marvel that the experiment turned out so successfully…” – Guglielmo Marconi on his first transatlantic radio transmission.


The study of mythology can help understand early geology and geography.

The Tragedy of Oscar Wilde

His plays, Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, all society comedies, were rapturously received on the West End stage.

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