Other towns get a celebrity to switch on their Christmas lights. Oxford's lights are switched on by municipal workers mid-afternoon on a drizzly Friday in mid-November and the money that doesn't go to a celebrity goes on Light Night, a street festival celebrating light in the darkness. I love it. This year's highlight for me was the Multaka activities in the Museum of the History of Science.
Multaka is a project I am a little connected with which involves displaced people in documenting, researching, interpreting and sharing two university museum collections: Islamic astronomical instruments at the Museum of the History of Science, and textiles from the Middle East at the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Tonight there was a guided tour of the Museum of the History of Science in Arabic, translated into English for those who couldn't understand; a reading by a very impressive young poet, Azfa Awad, who read an intriguing poem commissioned about an astrolabe in the museum; an exhibition of photos by Akram Abo Alfoz who collects the remnants of rockets and bullets that hit the city of Douma in Syria and turns them into artworks; and Bilal Alasali singing traditional Islamic nasheed.
The lanterns on the railings (in more detail in extras) were made by local Syrians.
I have never seen a queue outside the Museum of the History of Science before.