Cultural meeting points for curious minds

Winner of the Museum + Heritage Community Engagement Programme of the Year Award 2024

What is MultakaOxford?


Mutual learning and benefit are at the heart of everything we do

Nicola Bird, Multaka Project Manager


The award-winning MultakaOxford team brings communities together by sharing the rich knowledge and heritage of people from all over the world who have made their home in Oxfordshire.

Funded by a generous donation from Alwaleed Philanthropies, Multaka – which means meeting point in Arabic – is based at Oxford University's History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.


Alice Celebrates Eid 2023 henna tattoos


We believe in exploring the histories in our collections through the mutual sharing of science, art, stories and culture.


By collaborating with open hearts and minds, we discover exciting opportunities for research, learning, creativity and development.


Want to find out more and join MultakaOxford?

  Email us at



An international philanthropic organisation collaborating with a range of philanthropic, governmental, and educational organisations across 189 countries to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief, and create cultural understanding through education.

For the last 40 years, their work has sought to innovate and foster a new meaning of peace and inclusiveness through education, art, and conversational exchange between communities.

For more about Multaka-Oxford and the generous support of Alwaleed Philanthropies, read our press release.


The history of MultakaOxford

The MultakaOxford team first formed in 2018 with the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

In 2021 MultakaOxford received landmark funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies, allowing us to create an ambitious 5-year plan.  




What do we do?


It has transformed museum practice

Nicola Bird, Multaka Project Manager


MultakaOxford's volunteer-led programme supports people to get involved in a range of projects across the History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.

From co-planning events and attending workshops to writing newsletter articles and leading museum tours, there are so many opportunities for MultakaOxford volunteers to share their unique perspectives and develop new skills.

Here is just some of the work we have done together:

Interested in volunteering with MultakaOxford or learning more?

Get in touch with a member of the team.

Meet the team


Say hello to MultakaOxford's award-winning team and our partners



MultakaOxford team Nicola

Nicola Bird

Nicola Bird

I am the project manager for MultakaOxford and have worked at Oxford University's Gardens, Libraries and Museums since 2012.

I have been managing the MultakaOxford project since it started in 2018.

I feel incredibly lucky to work with people from all around the world and learn alongside them.

I studied Social Anthropology at university and then worked and travelled in many countries around in the world including Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Southeast Asia.

I have been an ESOL teacher for over 25 years and have always worked with people and communities since arriving in Oxford in 2000.

About my role

I manage the MultakaOxford project and project team.

My role is to oversee and coordinate the activities in the project and support the volunteers across the two museums.

I link the project with the partner organisations across Oxford city and county to make sure the project adapts to the changing needs of our local community support the individual people volunteering and bringing their incredible knowledge, skills and experience into the museum.

Contact me:



MultakaOxford team Helen

Helen Pooley

Helen Pooley

I have lived in Oxford for nearly 30 years. Originally, I am from Wales and Welsh is my first language.

I trained as a Primary school teacher, and I volunteer as a governor at my school.

In my spare time I love gardening, cooking and singing in a choir.

About my role

I am based at the History of Science Museum, although I also do some work with the team at Pitt Rivers Museum.

I work with adults and children of all ages, including families, school children and people with special educational needs.

During 2023 I will be working with MultakaOxford volunteers to create resources for teachers in local schools, and on a community-led research project looking at the stories we tell about our objects at the History of Science Museum.

Contact me:



MultakaOxford team Jumana

Jumana Hokan

Jumana Hokan

I am a Syrian/British artist and creative learning facilitator.

I have an undergraduate degree in Fine Art and a master's degree in Contemporary Art.

I have lived in Syria and the UK and have travelled extensively for my work as an artist.

I am really interested in art, making and creativity, history and anthropology, music, literature and culture.

I really enjoy learning new stories and skills from people from all over the world in my role.

About my role

I am based at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

My role as Community Outreach and Learning Facilitator is to lead on different projects and events in this museum. I work collaboratively with MultakaOxford volunteers, community partners and other organisations to create and support different learning and sharing opportunities, both in the museum and beyond.

Contact me:



MultakaOxford team Hadi

Hadi AlNuri

Hadi AlNuri

I am the founder and the director of a project called Syrian Community Oxfordshire — SYRCOX — and lead many activities in the community, such as emergency food parcel distribution, cultural clubs for young people and social events.

I have been working with Connection Support for 5 years as a Refugee Support Worker, supporting newcomers to settle in Oxfordshire society.

I have many years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry and have both Master's and undergraduate degrees in International Hospitality, Events and Tourism Management from Oxford Brookes University.

About my role

I am a Community Connector. In this role I support and enable local people, groups and organisations to be involved in the MultakaOxford Programme which runs at Oxford University’s History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.

Contact me:




MultakaOxford is already highly regarded in the museums, arts, and heritage sector, having won the 2024 Museums + Heritage Award for Community Engagement Programme of the Year and the prestigious 2019 Collections Trust Award.


Museum + Heritage Community Engagement Programme of the Year 2024

MultakaOxford Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator Nicola Bird writes: 

'MultakaOxford is an experience which includes everyone — staff, volunteers and the public. 

Gently, with openness and warmth, it is a journey we all take together where we have different — but equally important — roles to play. MultakaOxford shows how we can live and work together: we are a part of a bigger story as we discover our shared humanity."  


Museums + Heritage Awards 2024 Multaka Oxford: Winners of the Community Engagement Programme of the Year Award

Museums + Heritage Awards 2024 Multaka Oxford: Winners of the Community Engagement Programme of the Year Award






Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Diversifying Participation 2020

MultakaOxford won the Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Diversifying Participation 2020 at the University of Oxford. 

Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson writes: 

'The University is deeply committed to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace and to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our community ... The awards recognise and celebrate these pioneering initiatives and the people behind them.' 

One our our Multaka volunteers shared her experiences: 'When I came to the History of Science Museum I found these objects here from the Islamic world ... I was so happy and I feel so pleased when I show people these are from my country."  

Find out more about the Awards


MultakaOxford volunteer working with a young child at an event

MultakaOxford volunteer working with a young child at an event






Collections Trust Award 2019

The MultakaOxford Team won the 2019 Collections Trust Award recognising the often unsung achievements museum collections managers. 

Rachel Harrison, Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator, writes

‘Working with the volunteers has transformed our practice. It’s made us reflect on how we can be more inclusive in everything we do.’ 

The project provides on-the-job training, work experience — and a sense of inclusion and community. 

Abdullah AlKhalaf, a Syrian volunteer, told us: ‘Here at the museum, we see we share a human history and culture. We see we are similar. The museum really is a 'multaka' — a meeting point for culture.’


Visitor viewing display

Visitor viewing display



More Awards for MultakaOxford in 2019:

hc  partnership
winner  volunteer


Our stories


Fresh perspectives


Meet some of the MultakaOxford volunteers.

Discover their stories and learn about objects in the History of Science Museum collections revealed through their eyes and experiences. 

And don't miss more volunteer stories at the Pitt Rivers Museum.


Meet Ali Solhi


When I was in my own country, I spent most of my life in the university, researching and writing articles. I am now interested in researching different subjects and topics.



MultakaOxford volunteer Ali

MultakaOxford volunteer Ali

In 2023, Ali Solhi took part in a MultakaOxford research group.

He chose to study the Lucernal and Solar Microscope by George Adams, London, c. 1790 (Inv no.: 67792).

Ali shared his findings:

"I chose this microscope by George Adams because I have already studied biology at university in my country Iran and I am very eager to know more about the history of the development of microscopes.

"George Adams was an English scientist, optician and scientific writer during the reign of king George lll. George Adams wrote many articles on electricity, magnetism, astronomy, geography and mathematical instruments.

"George Adams invented the lucernal microscope in 1770. It is a type of projection microscope where the image is projected on a screen by a large oil lamp.

"Adams designed and built a number of lucernal microscopes with wooden and brass bodies. Some microscopes were very large and they had a dense lens that was more than 8 inches in diameter and their focal angle was near 24 inches.


I am interested in group work and can learn a lot from others.

67792 Lucernal and Solar Microscope by George Adams, London, c. 1790

Lucernal and Solar Microscope by George Adams, London, c. 1790 (Inv no.: 67792)

"The MultakaOxford project was very enjoyable for me because there are many expert teachers in these activities and I am interested in group work and can learn a lot from others.

"It is also very useful to develop my English.

"When I was in my own county, I spent most of my life in the university, researching and writing articles, I am now interested in researching different subjects and topics.


I will definitely continue to research objects in the future.


Meet Mariia Korol 


To me, these two objects show how strong and brave we must be to defend what we believe.


Mariia, MultakaOxford volunteer

Mariia, MultakaOxford volunteer and tour guide at the History of Science Museum, standing next to John Russell's Moon Pastel (Inv. no.: 39338)

My name is Mariia.

I'm volunteering in the History of Science Museum as a tour guide, part of the MultakaOxford project.

The Copernican Armillary Sphere and the Moon Drawing on the stairs are the objects which most excited me and the reason I visited museum again and again.

In fact, the reason why I'm giving tours.

To me, these two objects show how strong and brave we must be to defend what we believe.

The Copernican Armillary Sphere (c.1700) shows a good example of how one person and his interests and beliefs can change whole world and development scientific philosophy.


This object represents a revolution in the scientific world.



This armillary sphere illustrates the Copernican planetary theory, where the sun in the centre our universe, not Earth (how it was believed before in the Ptolemaic theory).

This little, but elegant sphere was made from brass and silver with minimalistic engraving of the zodiac symbols, planets and stars.

A large golden sphere represents the Sun, and small white sphere represents the Earth.

This model not only symbolises a huge revolution in the scientific world and our civilisation, but how one person with strong convictions and beliefs could change world.



Meet Dhamyaa Abbas


[MultakaOxford] changed my life … and it changed many, many things in my heart.



Multaka-Oxford volunteer Dhamyaa Abass

Volunteer Dhamyaa Abbas at the Multaka One World Festival

Dhamyaa Abbas arrived in Oxford from Iraq in 2017, joining MultakaOxford as a volunteer in 2018.

At the time, she didn’t speak English but the MultakaOxford programme and tour guide training gave her the opportunity to practise.

I enjoyed leading the tours in English and loved showing visitors the objects from Iraq, Sudan, and Arabic culture

Dhamyaa became more involved in MultakaOxford, running a series of popular fashion shows, featuring dress from around the world, to encourage inter-cultural understanding.

The MultakaOxford programme gave Dhamyaa the confidence to continue her English training at City of Oxford College and to explore further education.

She has now completed a Teaching Assistant course and works as a Teaching Assistant in Oxford primary schools.

Dhamyaa continues to bring her knowledge and experience to Oxford University museums — she volunteers at the Ashmolean Museum's Welcome desk.


[MultakaOxford] supported my language training and encouraged me towards other education ...

[it] introduced me to so many people and cultures and made me feel part of a community.

And if I ever missed my country, the project gave me the opportunity to speak about it and my family.



Meet Hussein Kara Ahmed 


People here respect my language, respect where I come from. They like to hear about different cultures, and that’s been very encouraging. It has really helped me to feel part of this community.



MultakaOxford volunteer Hussein Kara Ahmed

Former MultakaOxford volunteer Hussein Kara Ahmed now works at the Ashmolean museum

Before coming to Oxford in 2018, Hussein Kara Ahmed worked in an embroidery factory in Turkey.

Three years before that, he was living in Syria, preparing to study law at university, but was forced to leave the country.

Shortly after arriving in Oxford, a contact at a local community organisation suggested he might like to get involved in MultakaOxford.

After eight months of volunteering, Hussein felt confident enough to apply for a job. He now works part-time as a Visitor Services Assistant at the Ashmolean Museum.  

Hussein saw how the project fostered a sense of intercultural understanding between those visiting the museums and those volunteering in them.

Follow MultakaOxford on social media