Arts

Louvre to train refugees as tour guides with funds from Saudi foundation

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The Louvre received an undisclosed sum from Alwaleed Philanthropies to redesign its Islamic galleries, which were reopened on Tuesday © 2014 Antoine Mongodin

The Musée du Louvre in Paris is planning its own version of Multaka, Berlins award-winning initiative training Syrian and Iraqi refugees to lead museum tours for their peers in Arabic. Multaka: Museum as Meeting Point—Refugees as Guides in Berlin Museums was launched in 2015 by Berlin State Museums and the German Historical Museum, and has since expanded to English and German-language tours and talks. Inspired by Berlin, two museums in Oxford, England, have been running a similar project with local refugee communities for the past 18 months.

The Louvres Islamic art department is in talks with the Saudi charitable foundation Alwaleed Philanthropies over “how to adapt the [Multaka] programme to the priorities of the Louvre and the French context”, says Yannick Lintz, the departments director. In June 2018, Alwaleed Philanthropies gave €9m to Berlins Museum of Islamic Art to boost funding for the Multaka tours there, as well as exhibitions, permanent displays and new educational initiatives. The foundation “will create a bridge” between the German project leaders and the Louvre, says Abeer Al-Fouti, its executive manager of global initiatives.

The Louvre's redesigned department of Islamic art © Alwaleed Philanthropies

The Riyadh-based foundation of the billionaire Saudi businessman Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has given the Louvre an undisclosed sum to redesign its Islamic galleries, which were reopened on Tuesday by Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, the secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies. The renovations include a new temporary exhibition space, multimedia labels and more immersive displays introducing the broad sweep of the 20,000-strong Islamic collection through space and time.

The foundation donated €23m towards the creation of the Louvres Islamic department in 2005. Lintz says the latest collaboration dates to early 2017, when Paris was still grappling with the legacy of Read More – Source

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