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How a handbag brings us together

Oxford's Christmas Light Festival is here, hooray!!!  It's wonderful have an event that draws Oxford's array of communities together, especially in these difficult times. Multaka volunteers are teaming up with the History of Science Museum (HSM) to create our first ever live streamed, festival family event.  The activities will take inspiration from one of the star objects of our new exhibition of Islamic metalwork, the 600-year-old Mosul Handbag.  During the event we will be celebrating diversity in faith, music, food, and art. 

Photographs by Ian Wallman

Multaka and the HSM team have been exploring a new way to meet up with our three Multaka volunteers through the pandemic to discuss, organise and design our activities for Christmas light festival. We have been meeting via Zoom every two weeks. During these meetings we have exchanged ideas and skills. We aim to pass on this healthy way of discussion to our online visitors. Alison, one of our Multaka volunteers, said “I have enjoyed the Multaka lights festival project as a route to discovering other cultures, meeting new people, and learning about the Arabic language.  I have been exploring some of the designs from objects in the 'Precious and Rare' exhibition online, and inventing ways to recreate them at home.  I will demonstrate some ideas to add sparkle and shine to your Mosul bag during the online event.’ Helen, who is a learning officer at the Museum told me that one of the things that she has really enjoyed is the way that we have all been learning together.  ''All too often the name of the city of Mosul is mentioned in this country in the context of war, so it's been wonderful finding out about the city's rich culture and history. One of my favourite activities was when we were talking about the Mosul handbag and decided spontaneously to show our own favourite handbags to each other on Zoom - that led to the sharing of some really lovely stories.   So, come and join our brilliant Multaka team with your family for some fun activities on Friday 20th November from 4.30-5.30pm. Get ready to download a template to make your own handbag, learn some Arabic and try your hand at Calligraphy. Book your place on our website

Al Salam Al- aykum!

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