Travel

Innovative Multaka-Oxford refugee project at Oxford University Museums supported by £1m funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies

Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations. Travel can be done by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, bus, airplane, ship or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one way or round trip.[1] Travel can also include relatively short stays between successive movements, as in the case of tourism.
The origin of the word “travel” is most likely lost to history. The term “travel” may originate from the Old French word travail, which means ‘work’.[2] According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the first known use of the word travel was in the 14th century. It also states that the word comes from Middle English travailen, travelen (which means to torment, labor, strive, journey) and earlier from Old French travailler (which means to work strenuously, toil).

In English, people still occasionally use the words travail, which means struggle. According to Simon Winchester in his book The Best Travelers’ Tales (2004), the words travel and travail both share an even more ancient root: a Roman instrument of torture called the tripalium (in Latin it means “three stakes”, as in to impale). This link may reflect the extreme difficulty of travel in ancient times. Travel in modern times may or may not be much easier depending upon the destination. Travel to Mount Everest, the Amazon rainforest, extreme tourism, and adventure travel are more difficult forms of travel. Travel can also be more difficult depending on the method of travel, such as by bus, cruise ship, or even by bullock cart.[3]

DUBAI, UAE, Nov. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Alwaleed Philanthropies, chaired by HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, announced it has donated £1 million to support the Multaka-Oxford refugee project at Oxford University, upskilling refugees settling in Oxford and enhancing cross-cultural understanding. The award-winning Multaka-Oxford project brings the rich and diverse knowledge of people settling in Oxford, many through forced migration, to two Oxford University museums, including History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum.

Innovative Multaka-Oxford refugee project at Oxford University Museums supported by £1m funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies

Innovative Multaka-Oxford refugee project at Oxford University Museums supported by £1m funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies

Multaka – which means meeting point in Arabic – uses the two University museums and the collections as a meeting point to bring communities together, strengthening cultural understanding through the mutual sharing of art, stories, culture and science. Multaka-Oxford aims to support over 200 volunteers to develop new skills and volunteer as tour guides, all while deepening the understanding of Islamic art and culture across the wider community. The program works with local community organisations that support people settling in Oxford as refugees and asylum seekers and will be delivered by the History of Science Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum. The Multaka-Oxford programme will include a host of initiatives, including community engagement events, museum activations and conferences as well as introduce Alwaleed Philanthropies’ artisans programme with a view to build further cross-cultural understanding.

The new five-year programme was announced at a signing ceremony attended by HRH Princess Lamia bint Majed Saud Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies, Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) at the University of Oxford, Dr Silke Ackermann, Director of the History of Science Museum and Dr Laura van Broekhoven, Director of the Pitt Rivers Museum.

The project began in 2017 with the museums working in partnership with local community organisations.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “The support of Alwaleed Philanthropies is a strong and welcome endorsement of the Multaka-Oxford project, the work of the museum teams and the contribution of our many volunteers. The project offers mutual benefit both to the University and to the volunteers. We are very grateful to Alwaleed Philanthropies for their support.”

Commenting on the launch of the program Her Royal Highness Princess Lamia bint Majed Saud Al Saud, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies, said: “We are pleased to support the continuation of the Multaka-Oxford programme for another five years. This programme, which opens its arms to refugees and helps to integrate them into the local community through the power of art and culture, plays a powerful role in strengthening cross-cultural understanding in society. Islamic art tells a story of our heritage, which can be often misunderstood, the Multaka-Oxford programme bridges these gaps and brings museum collections to life. This partnership is a true testament to the power of art and role of creative industries in enhancing social development. This project mirrors the successful Multaka programme at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin which we have been proud to support. We look forward to a fruitful partnership.”

The funding from Alwaleed Philanthropies will enable the Museums to recruit, train and support a new team of 200 volunteers from across Oxfordshire to work with a range of collections – such as scientific instruments from the Islamic World at the History of Science Museum and textiles, objects, and material from the Photographic and Sound Collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. The volunteers will bring diverse perspectives to these collections, sharing within the museums and the wider community, with a particular focus on engaging young people. Together with museum staff, the volunteers will also co-produce online and in-person events at the museums, co-curate displays sharing artefacts from the Islamic world, and lead tours and deliver object handling sessions, among other activities.

www.glam.ox.ac.uk

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