As part of the project “Multaka: Museum as Meeting Point – Refugees as Guides in Berlin Museums” (Arabic: “meeting point”), Syrian and Iraqi refugees are being trained as museum guides so that they can then provide free guided tours for Syrian and Iraqi refugees in their native language. Multaka also aims to facilitate the interchange of diverse cultural and historical experiences.
Our tours take place at the Museum of Islamic Art, the Museum of Ancient Middle Eastern Art, the Museum of Byzantine Art and Sculpture Collection, the German Historical Museum since November 2015. The program is aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults, but also addresses older people in mixed groups.
The guided tours make questions around historical objects relevant to contemporary debates, in order to establish a connection between the past and the present. In the process, the guides incorporate the visitors into the process of observing and interpreting the objects. Through the consideration of their own history, the visitors become active participants. On another level, the tours focus on historical and cultural connections between Germany, Syria and Iraq. Through the depiction of such commonalities and the incorporation into a larger cultural and historical, epoch-transcending narrative, museums have the immense opportunity to function as a connecting link between the refugees’ countries of origin and their new host country, in order to create a context of meaning for their lives here.
We hope to facilitate refugees access to museums, and to help them to find social and cultural points of connection, as well as to increase their participation in the public sphere. But we also want to become a real meeting point and to offer a possibility for exchange and communication. This will be ensured by several workshops, that provide an additional context which integrates refugees, but also involves the native population of Berlin in the project. In this way, right from the start, a point of vision is fostered in which cultural and historical activities are integrated into the refugees own lived reality as an element of a productive organisation of leisure time, and an enrichment of their day-to-day lives.
What has once started as an innovative experiment, now is a real success story! "Multaka" meets unbelievable positive response and the demand for our guided tours is growing from week to week. To ensure that our guides can provide further tours and workshops, we need your support! Please donate for Multaka, so this project can continue being a constructive and peaceful platform, where people of different origins can get to know and learn from each other.
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