Cultural meeting points for curious minds


What is Multaka-Oxford?


Brings museum collections to life

HRH Princess Lamia bint Majed Saud Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies



Multaka-Oxford tour in Top Gallery at the History of Science Museum

Multaka-Oxford tour

Funded by a generous donation from Alwaleed Philanthropies, the award-winning Multaka-Oxford team brings the rich, diverse knowledge of people settling in Oxford – many through forced migration – to the History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.

Multaka – which means meeting point in Arabic – uses the two University museums and their collections as a meeting point to bring communities together, strengthening understanding through the mutual sharing of art, stories, culture, and science. 


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

Nicola Bird, Multaka Project Manager
Working with young people at a Multaka-Oxford event

Working with young people

The Museums recruit, train, and support a team of 270 volunteers from across Oxfordshire to work with a range of collections including:

  • scientific instruments from the Islamic World at the History of Science Museum
  • textiles, objects, and material from the Photographic and Sound Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. 

With a special focus on connecting with young people, the volunteers share the diverse perspectives they bring to these collections with their museum colleagues and the wider community. 


It has transformed museum practice

Nicola Bird, Multaka Project Manager
Multaka-Oxford volunteer Hussein Kara Ahmed giving a tour

Multaka-Oxford volunteer Hussein Kara Ahmed giving a tour

Collaborating with museum staff, the volunteers also:

  • co-produce online and in-person events
  • co-curate displays sharing artefacts from the Islamic world
  • lead tours and deliver object handling sessions.

The Multaka team forms an integral part of an Oxford network that supports people who are asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants, building extensive partnerships with mutual skill-sharing and support.


[Multaka] opens its arms to refugees and helps to integrate them into the local community through the power of art and culture

HRH Princess Lamia bint Majed Saud Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies



More about Alwaleed Philanthropies

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.

Award-winning team

Award-winning Multaka-Oxford team

Multaka-Oxford is already highly regarded in the museums, arts, and heritage sector, having won the prestigious 2019 Collections Trust Award and the 2019 Museums + Heritage Award for Volunteer Team of the Year.

The Multaka-Oxford team will be sharing its learning and resources by establishing a UK Multaka network:

  • offering informal mentoring support to UK heritage projects
  • sharing project information at conferences
  • supporting the development of Multaka projects at other international museums.
Vice-Chancellor's Diversity Award for Diversifying Participation 2020

Multaka-Oxford 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


Collections Trust Award 2019

The Multaka-Oxford 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.’

More Awards for Multaka-Oxford in 2019:


hc  partnership


winner  volunteer





Multaka-Oxford volunteer working with a young child at an event

Multaka-Oxford volunteer working with a young child at an event




Visitor viewing display

Visitor viewing display

Volunteer stories

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.



Multaka-Oxford volunteer Hussein Kara Ahmed

Former Multaka-Oxford 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 Multaka-Oxford.

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.






Meet Dhamyaa Abbas


[Multaka-Oxford] 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 Multaka-Oxford as a volunteer in 2018.

At the time, she didn’t speak English but the Multaka-Oxford 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 Multaka-Oxford, running a series of popular fashion shows, featuring dress from around the world, to encourage inter-cultural understanding.

The Multaka-Oxford 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.

[Multaka-Oxford] 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.







Collections: Islamic scientific instruments

Researching and sharing knowledge about museum collections is an essential role for Multaka-Oxford. 

At the History of Science Museum, Multaka-Oxford is looking at Islamic scientific instruments.

Multaka volunteers have incredible knowledge, understanding, and connections to objects in the collections.

Here are some of their favourites:


Follow Multaka-Oxford on social media