The Award-winning Multaka-Oxford team

Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Diversifying Participation 2020

We're so proud to announce that our friends at Multaka-Oxford​ have won the Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Diversifying Participation 2020 at the University of Oxford.

Multaka means 'meeting point' in Arabic and the project has empowered refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford to join a team of volunteers at the Pitt Rivers Museum​ and the History of Science Museum​ to share their knowledge and passion for Islamic art, science and culture.

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."

Dr Rebecca Surender, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality and Diversity, adds:

"It was wonderful to receive so many nominations for the Vice-Chancellor’s Diversity Awards."

Find out more about the Awards.

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Collections Trust Award 2019

In 2019, the Multaka-Oxford Team won the Collections Trust Award.

Multaka-Oxford collected their Award at a ceremony on Thursday 12 September. The annual award recognises the often unsung achievements of those who manage museum collections.

Since the project was established in 2017, Multaka-Oxford has welcomed more than 55 volunteers, who have given over 1,200 hours of their time. 20 new volunteer roles have been created, from tour guides to collection researchers, and over 1,800 people have attended events and tours run by the volunteers.

In just a relatively short period, the project has deeply affected the lives of everyone involved with it. ‘Working with the volunteers has transformed our practice,’ says Rachel Harrison, Volunteer & Community Engagement Coordinator at the museums. ‘It’s made us reflect on how we can be more inclusive in everything we do.’

And for the volunteers, Multaka has not only provided on-the-job training and work experience, but has also created a sense of inclusion and community. As Abdullah AlKhalaf, a Syrian volunteer, puts it: ‘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.’

The impact of the award-winning project is set to continue in the future. Thanks to the generosity of individual donors and The Barakat Trust, funding has been secured for a further year.

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Multaka in Arabic translates in English to 'meeting point'. Multaka-Oxford aims to create volunteer opportunities and to use museums and collections as a ‘meeting point’ for bringing people together. The project is funded until September 2019 by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

Multaka-Oxford is being delivered jointly by the Pitt Rivers Museum and the History of Science Museum. It's run in collaboration with the local organisations Asylum Welcome, Connection Support Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme and Refugee Resource. Nuha Abdo from Syrian Sisters is the Community Ambassador. Volunteers are at the centre of the project.

The Multaka team of staff and volunteers are working with two collections: the Islamic scientific instruments at the History of Science Museum, and a recent donation from Jenny Balfour Paul of textiles from the Arab World at the Pitt
Rivers Museum. Together they are researching, learning and discovering other perspectives about these collections. This wealth of knowledge and understanding is being added to the museums’ databases and is being shared with a wider
community through multi-lingual events, tours, blogs and displays.

The project is inspired by Multaka: Museums as a meeting point, which is based in Berlin. It provides opportunities for individuals to create Arabic tours across four museums in the

يهدف إلى خلق فرص التطوع للمهاجرين قسريًا واستخدام المتاحف والمقتنيات “كنقطة التقاء” لجمع الأفراد معًا

ملتقى أكسفورد هو مشروع ممول مادياً من صندوق ازمي فيربين كوليكشن حتى أيلول سنة ٢٠١٩

.سيكون هناك تعاون مشترك بين متحف پيت رڤيرز ومتحف تاريخ العلوم، جنبا إلى جنب مع منظمات المجتمع المحلي والجماعات الشعبية والأفراد

.ملتقى اكسفورد يهدف إلى إشراك النازحين في العمل اليومي للمتاحف من خلال خلق فرص عمل تطوعي شاملة وسيتم تمكين فريق المتطوعين لتقديم جميع جوانب المشروع – من أبحاث المجموعات الى المشاركة العامة

.ويركز المشروع على مجموعتين من مقتنيات المتحفين: المجموعة الاولى من الأدوات الفلكية الإسلامية في متحف تاريخ العلوم، ومقتنيات الثانية من المنسوجات المكتسبة حديثاً من الشرق الأوسط في پيت ريڤيرز

هذا المشروع مستوحى فكرته من مشروع ملتقى متاحف برلين: المتاحف كنقطة التقاء، والتي توفر الفرص للأفراد لإنشاء جولات في المتحف باللغة العربية عبر أربعة متاحف في المدينة. كلمة العربية تعني “نقطة التقاء” واهداف مشروعيأكسفورد
وبرلين و هي إنشاء مكان يمكن للأفراد الاجتماع فيه وتبادل خبراتهم ومعرفتهم ومهاراتهم مع بعضهم البعض ومع الموظفين.

.ومن خلال ذلك، نهدف إلى تعزيز التفاهم وسرد الروايات والمشاركة فيما يخص مقتنيات المتحف، كذلك دعم المتطوعين في بناء الثقة واكتساب الخبرة العملية ودعم التكامل المجتمع


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"When I came to the History of Science Museum I found these objects here from Islamic world….I find I was so happy and I feel so pleased when I show people these are from my country, I am so happy."

- A Multaka-Oxford volunteer

The team

The Multaka-Oxford Team are:

Abdullah, Abi, Ali, Chaitanya, Dhamyaa, Dot, Duncan, Farida, Ghazala, Hadi, Hannah, Hussein, Khalil, Mariam, Mohamed, Mohammad, Navigator, Nawar, Nicola, Niran, Niveen, Nuha, Rachel, Rana, Rawan, Richard, Roushin, Safaa, Safaa, Sarah, Shaimaa, Suheer, Thabo, Tammam and Waed.

Contact the team:


Phone: +44 (0)1865 282 456

In the press

The project has gained coverage in the local, national and international press. Some of the coverage can be seen on the Gardens, Libraries & Museums website.

About the collections

Researching and sharing knowledge about museum collections is an essential element of Multaka-Oxford. At the History of Science Museum Multaka-Oxford is looking at the Islamic scientific instruments. Multaka volunteers have incredible knowledge, understanding and connections to objects in the collections.

Get involved

The majority of volunteers come to the project through community partners. There are also volunteer roles advertised through the Joint Museums Volunteer Service. If you would like to volunteer you can register on the Gardens, Libraries and Museums website.

"I am learning here about my culture, in Syria I didn’t learn about it like this. I learn and it makes me feel very proud. I am pleased the museum has these things."

- A Multaka-Oxford volunteer