Weaving Connections: Local Perspectives on Collections from the Middle East, North and West Africa


Jenny Balfour-Paul lived, travelled and collected in the Middle East, North and West Africa from the 1970s to the 1990s. In 2016 she offered a collection of material which she described as ‘Textiles from the Arab World' to the Pitt Rivers Museum, which shortly became a focal point for a programme called MultakaOxford. Multaka, meaning ‘meeting point' in Arabic, explores different ways of engaging with heritage, while developing opportunities for intercultural dialogue. The online exhibition ‘Weaving Connections' interprets highlights from this collection from the perspectives of Multaka volunteers, the collector and Pitt Rivers Museum curators. 

Weaving Connections

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. 

Creating the exhibition

During the pandemic, the usual ways of interacting with each other and collections rapidly changed. New Multaka Digital Research roles, facilitated remotely, fed into the final exhibition text. ‘Weaving Connections' also includes some wording from the earlier MultakaOxford ‘Connecting Threads' display (April 2019 – February 2020). All research from MultakaOxford will be added to the Pitt Rivers Museum collections databases.  

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