MultakaOxford ملتقى أكسفورد

Meeting points at the Pitt Rivers Museum 


Don't forget to also visit the History of Science Museum's MultakaOxford webpage to find out even more about activities and history of this cross-museum project. 

Watch our 7 minute video introducing MultakaOxford



MultakaOxford is based at the Pitt Rivers Museum and the History of Science Museum Museum, part of Oxford University. The term Multaka translates from Arabic to English as ‘meeting point’.

The projects key aim is to bring people and communities together, to strengthen understanding through inter-cultural dialogue through the mutual sharing of art, stories, culture and science in the museums. The project began in 2018 and was funded Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and a private donor.


In 2021 MultakaOxford received landmark funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies  allowing the project to create an ambitious plan until 2026. With the support of Alwaleed Philanthropies, MultakaOxford continues to work with people from all over the world who live in Oxford and Oxfordshire, using the museums and their extensive collections as a ‘meeting point’ and as a platform to create opportunities for belonging, collaboration, learning, creativity and development.


The core of the Multaka project is the team of volunteers and staff that create the ‘meeting points’. Together volunteers and staff create, plan and deliver a wide range of activities, events, workshops that share our cultures, experience, knowledge and skills. Through working together we learn from each other and bring a diverse programme where everyone can engage, participate and recognise the commonalities we share.


Watch volunteer Iryna share her thoughts on MultakaOxford, meeting new people, and ideas of identity:




MultakaOxford is a volunteer-led programme that supports people to attend, plan and deliver different activities to share culture and heritage. These projects can happen in the museums or in Oxfordshire’s communities.

Together we co-plan events for the public, we research and share our knowledge, we write articles and give presentations, we organise celebrations and displays, we attend workshops and create resources for people to learn about culture, heritage and history.

There are many different opportunities for Multaka volunteers to both share their knowledge and unique perspectives and stories with wider communities and develop their own skills.

Here are some examples of work we have done together:

Museum Tours 

Training programmes to support individuals to create and deliver tours in the museums.

In 2023 a range of tours were developed with MultakaOxford members sharing new perspectives and stories around objects on display including the Magical Multaka Tour and Ukrainian History in the Museum, to name just two recent examples. 


A woman gestures towards a weathered stone statue of human figure carved with its hands in its lap


Many of our activities include planning celebrations for cultural or religious holidays with communities or creating family days in the museums together. 

These can include performances, such as when Dvi Doli performed as part of the Ukrainian Saint Nicolas Day celebration on 18th December 2022 (pictured below), as well as hands-on activities such as family-friendly crafts. 


Two women wearing blue embroidered dresses playing traditional stringed Ukrainian instruments.



Learning Opportunities

These have included workshops, training sessions or language classes. 


A group of people gather around a table on which is a variety of objects, in the corner of museum, flanked by glass display cases full of objects

MultakaOxford English as a Second Language (ESOL) class using objects at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Research in the Museum

Researching and sharing knowledge about museum collections has been a core element of MultakaOxford in many activities. The Connecting Threads MultakaOxford display and Weaving Connections online exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum both involved looking at a collection of textiles from the Arab world donated by Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul. Many other activities have involved MultakaOxford bringing their own knowledge, understandings and perspectives to the collections on display, and have led to additional interpretation being shared, such as Thabo Muleya's reflections on mbira musical instruments which also featured as a Case Study in gallery interventions introduced in 2020.




Exhibitions and Displays 

There have been several exhibitions, displays and pop-ups at the Pitt Rivers Museum as part of MultakaOxford over the years. Below are a few examples:


Olive harvest embroidery
Palestine: Pieces of Me

This afternoon of events and exhibits celebrated Palestinian stitching, craft and culture and the visit of our friends from the Women's Centre in Al Am'ari Refugee Camp Ramallah to Oxford. There was a pop-up exhibit of cultural heritage items, beautiful textiles and artworks from Palestine, alongside a film preview, stitching workshops and and behind the scenes tours of Palestinian textiles held in the collections at the museum. 

This event has been created in collaboration with MultakaOxford, Oxford Ramallah Friendship Association (ORFA), The Palestinian History Tapestry and the Oxford Dabke Group.



Close up view of a branching paper sculpture in front of a backdrop showing the roof and railings of gallery floors of a museum.
Community Chandelier 

If you visited the Pitt Rivers Museum from Winter 2022 to Winter 2023 you might have seen the sculptural installation above the steps of the main entrance as you enter from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. This Community Chandelier was a collaboration between MultakaOxford volunteers and participants, and local artists Louisa Johnson and Asma Mahmud Hashmi.

The Chandelier was created as part of Oxford City Council’s Light Night Festival. MultakaOxford partnered with Magdalen Road Art Studios (in East Oxford) to provide a creative space for wellbeing and community participation in this city-wide event.


weaving connections banner
Weaving Connections Online Exhibition 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual ways of interacting with each other and collections rapidly changed, including for MultakaOxford. New MultakaOxford Digital Research roles, facilitated remotely, fed into the online exhibition 'Weaving Connections', that also included content from the earlier physical display Connecting Threads (April 2019 – February 2020). 

From textiles to ceramics, silverwork to photography, Weaving Connections celebrates excellence in design and technical skill from Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Senegal, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. Learn about how people made, used and wore these items and discover how the exhibition brings contemporary relevance, cross-cultural connections and personal stories into the foreground. Research from this exhibition was also added to the Pitt Rivers Museum collections databases.


Social Media and Online Activity

There is also opportunity to get involved in MultakaOxford Social Media and other online activity. 

If you are interested in volunteering with Multaka or learning more about the project, get in touch with a member of the team via the 'Meet the Team' tab above, or email:


Recognition for our work

The project has gained coverage in the local, national and international press and has been highly regarded over the years in the museums, arts and heritage sector.

Some of the coverage can be seen on the Gardens, Libraries & Museums website.


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


MultakaOxford was named Winner of the 2019 Collections Trust Award at a ceremony on Thursday 12 September. The annual award recognises the often unsung achievements of those who manage museum collections. Read more about the award here.


MultakaOxford was also was also Winner of the Volunteer(s) of the Year and awarded Highly Commended Partnership of the Year at the 2019 Museum and Heritage Awards. 

Images showing awards for Winner for Volunteer(s) of the Year and Highly Commended Partnership of the Year at the 2019 Museums+Heritage Awards








Get Involved

Volunteer Thabo shares his thoughts on the work of MultakaOxford:



Be part of what we do - get in touch through the Meet the Team tab.
Discover more perspectives from MultakaOxford volunteers on this webpage through clicking the Our Stories tab above. 

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Nicola Bird

About Me:

I am the project manager for MultakaOxford and have worked at Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums since 2012. I have been managing the Multaka project since it started, it 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 2 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:



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Jumana Hokan

About Me:

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 and 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 while working collaboratively with Multaka volunteers, community partners and other organisations and to create and support different learning and sharing opportunities both in the museum and beyond.

Contact me:


Community Connector


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Hadi AlNuri

About Me:

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 team members based at the History of Science Museum



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Helen Pooley 

About Me:

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:


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Nuha Abdo 

About Me:

I am a sociologist from Syria. I worked with the Danish Refugee Council in Damascus before coming to the UK in 2016. On arrival in Oxford, I founded the Syrian Sisters community group and worked as a refugee ambassador with the University of Oxford. I have also been a Refugee and Immigration Coordinator with Asylum Welcome.

About My Role:

I am the Community Outreach and Learning Facilitator for MultakaOxford based at the History of Science Museum. I have also recently set up the social enterprise Damascus Rose Catering. The thing I enjoy most about my role is being able to work with many different communities. In 2023 I was recognised as a Coronation Champion for my community work.

Contact me:



MultakaOxford Partners


Asylum Welcome

Asylum Welcome offers information, advice and practical support to asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants living in Oxfordshire. 


Refugee Resource

Refugee Resource aims to relieve distress, improve well-being and facilitate the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants – mainly in Oxfordshire – by providing psychological, social and practical support.


Connection Support

Connection Support provide a wide range of services which offer support with homelessness, housing support, mental health, independent living, preventing isolation, parental mentoring, refugee resettlement and social prescribing.


Sanctuary Hosting 

Sanctuary Hosting is a hosting scheme that provides temporary accommodation for refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable migrants at risk of homelessness across Oxfordshire and Reading by matching them with volunteer hosts who offer a free bed and a warm welcome.


Refugees Study Centre

The Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) was founded in 1982 and is part of the Oxford Department of International Development. Our mission is to build knowledge and understanding of forced migration in order to help improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.


Refugee-led Research Hub 

The University of Oxford's Refugee-led Research Hub shares refugee-led initiatives and organisations (RLOs) recognising their vital role in meeting community needs.




When I first saw things from Syria here I felt I was back again at home. Without Multaka I wouldn’t ever see these objects and get knowledge about them. 
Multaka volunteer


Volunteers are the heart of MultakaOxford. Here you can hear some of the stories from MultakaOxford volunteers at the Pitt Rivers Museum including those who have participated in the recent tour guiding training and earlier exhibitions. 

Discover more volunteer stories at the History of Science Museum too. 


Meet Iryna


A woman stands among glass display cases with her arms open, caught in the moment of talking about museum objects on display

Life in a new country for immigrants can be not easy. Due to poor language level and different professional experience. But there is a place in the UK where your knowledge is valued. And this place calls Pitt Rivers Museum and Multaka Project.  

Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford keeps thousands of historical objects from different countries over the world. Regards to Multaka project refugees have opportunities to share their knowledge and culture. Some months ago I joined the museum training and was excited to find Ukrainian objects in the museum.  

Many people bump into the huge statue of the stone lady on the first floor and are curious about where she came from. Thousands of such stone ladies called Kamjana Baba are raising in south and eastern Ukraine now. They were left by nomads. In the old time, different people moved from the East to the West looking for better and new land.  

In the museum, you can find also bright Ukrainian Easter eggs and examples of Ukrainian embroidery. I am still on my journey to discover new Ukrainian items. In one of the most mysterious British museums.


View of a display case showing eggs elaborately painted with faces of people and geometric patterns.
Carved stone figure alongside dark wooden display cases in the museum galleries







Watch Iryna's description of the Kamyana Baba in her Multaka Tour:





Meet Nataliia

In this short film MultakaOxford tour guide Nataliia shares her experiences of developing a tour at the Pitt Rivers Museum based around her expertise as a an Engineer:




Meet Alina


A person wrapped up warm in outdoor coats stands on ice in snowy landscape

Each of us brings something from childhood into adulthood – habits, hobbies, fears. So people who grew up with such fantasy worlds as Harry Potter, Lord of the rings or Chronicles of Narnia often carry through many years a craving for a mysterious and mystical. Even if they don't really believe it. So I, a girl who has been waiting for her letter from Hogwarts since I was 11 years old, don’t mind sometimes plunge into the world of witches, spells and evil spirits. Bring some happiness to my inner child, if I may say so. 

That is why, when I became a part of Multaka and started Tour Guide Training, I decided to let myself go and to explore the magical side of Great Britain of the past centuries and the history of beliefs and the occult in general. And the Pitt Rivers Museum gives such a great opportunity, and amazing tutors always help with finding the missing information. This is truly an interesting journey through the ages during which the secrets of protective amulets in chimneys all over England, bizarre amulets against diseases and the origins of reflections about beyond human control things were revealed to me. And I am very glad that this is only a tiny part of the knowledge that the museum stores on its shelves. 

It is also interesting to observe how completely different peoples have similar mystical antagonists and means to deal with them. This is a kind of reminder that people from all over the world always had and have now both similar problems and similar ways to solve them. 

I can say with confidence that the process of studying the history of museum objects that are interesting to me helps a lot in learning the language and broadens my horizons. And this is one of the most important steps in understanding such a multicultural country as Great Britain. 

Image of ring containing a lock of hair
alina tour image

Meet Thabo

In this short clip we hear from Mutlaka Volunteer Thabo and his thoughts on how Multaka brings our worlds together:




Meet Niran 


Headshot of a woman smiling

I am Niran Altahhan, from Damascus, Syria. I have been an event planner at MultakaOxford project for about 6 years. I enjoy my role and always happy to share different cultures through events. Every single event I receive positive comments encourage me to do more and discover a lot about the whole world cultures and civilisations, until I could feel that the whole world is in the one place. 

The Damask brocade is the most famous and luxurious type of fabric and textile in the world. The clothe is made of gold and silver threads and natural silk. Brocade shapes are characterised by stitches inspired by nature in the form of almonds, birds and roses. It has been unique to the city of Damascus in Syria since ancient times, and it has specialised and famous craftsmen and makers. The brocade is globally associated with the name DAMASCUS. 

In 2017 I received a brocade scarf from one of my friend who is still in Syria to keep me connected with my root. I was so happy when I received it, but I decided to donate it to Pitt River Museum to add something precious from Damascus to one of very important place in Oxford. 

Niran's brocade scarf featured in the Weaving Connections online exhibition


Multaka-Oxford volunteers working with the Jenny Balfour-Paul collection to plan the display.
Two woman stand in a research space at a museum admiring a gold brocade scarf displayed on a torso mannequin

Meet Iryna 

In this clip Iryna talks about finding an object from Ukraine in the Pitt Rivers Museum:




I've always said to people about Multaka - we can talk irrespective of religion, irrespective of colour, irrespective of language, and say: this is me; this is my Story. 

Thabo, MultakaOxford Volunteer


Don't forget to explore more stories from MultakaOxford at the History of Science Museum


Get in touch

Want to find out more and join MultakaOxford?

Email us at


Follow MultakaOxford on social media


 @MultakaO (X formally Twitter)

   @multakaoxford  (Instagram)

  Multaka-Oxford (Facebook)

A woman smiles while pointing to an object in a glass display case
csm visit to prm
A group of people gather around a table in a museum with crowded glass display cases
multakaoxford hearts at pitt rivers museum


The project was originally inspired by Multaka: Museums as a meeting point, which is based in Berlin.

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

Logo for Alwaleed Philanthropies featuring arabic text and an image of the globe.





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.




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