NEMO Learning Exchange on museums and integration of newcomers

© Milena Schlösser, Staatliche Museen Berlin – Museum für Islamische Kunst A group of people listen to a museum guide in the middle of an exhibition room.

© Milena Schlösser, Staatliche Museen Berlin – Museum für Islamische Kunst

On 8, 17 and 23 June 2021, NEMO is hosting an online NEMO Learning Exchange facilitated by Sarah Fortmann-Hijazi and Salma Jreige from the project ‘Multaka: Meetingpoint Museum’. They will share their expertise from the successful project that facilitates the interchange of diverse cultural and historical experiences and to build cultural bridges. Applications are welcome until Thursday 3 June 2021.

As part of the project 'Multaka: Museum as Meeting Point – Refugees as Guides in Berlin Museums', Syrian and Iraqi newcomers are being trained as museum guides so that they can then provide guided museum tours for Syrian and Iraqi newcomers in their native language. Multaqa (Arabic for “meeting point”) also aims to facilitate the interchange of diverse cultural and historical experiences.

The project was started in 2015 by the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Germany, to train Newcomers from Syria and Iraq to become museum guides. Their role was to develop and lead interactive tours for other Newcomers from the same region, in their mother tongue. Through the acknowledgment of one’s own cultural heritage, knowledge and language, as well as reclaiming agency by the Arabic-speaking Newcomer communities, the museum hopes to empower the position of Newcomers in the cultural sphere and to enable confident and constructive connection with cultural institutions. In total, 25 Guides were trained within Multaka Berlin, 18 of which are still active with the project.

The NEMO Learning Exchange will offer a deep insight into the project and its different facets. It will provide practical tools and will introduce valuable ideas that can contribute to implementing interactive projects like Multaka within museums. The full programme includes three two-hour (10:00-12:00 CEST) sessions providing opportunities to learn and discuss with international colleagues.

The selection process (of up to 16 members) will be carried out by NEMO’s executive board and the hosting organisation. The selection of the participants receiving the grant is made according to their profile and how often the organisation they are coming from has benefitted from NEMO’s grants already.

Non-members are welcome to participate for a fee.

Salma Jreige 

Salma Jreige, born in Damascus, Syria, and lives in Berlin, Germany. BA in Law from Damascus University and MA in Intercultural Conflict Management at the ASH-Berlin. Multaka Project manager at the Museums of Islamic Art and Guide in the German Historical Museum, focusing on migration related issues and outreach to middle eastern communities. 

Sarah Fortmann-Hijazi 

 Sarah Fortmann-Hijazi, Magister Artium in German / English philology as well as recent and modern history from the University of Cologne. She holds a doctorate in intercultural literature. Multaka Project manager at the Museum of Islamic Art, focusing on transcultural dynamics and the question as to how museums can serve as a public space for diverse communities.