UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage


The Role of Local Communities in Preserving and Promoting Heritage: an Ecuadorian Case Study

13 December 2018, 5:45 pm–8:00 pm

Dec GL

UCL ISH Open Heritage Guest Lecture from Chris Hudson, Principal designer at Chris Hudson Designs.

Event Information

Open to





Institute for Sustainable Heritage


225, Second Floor
Central House
14 Upper Woburn pl
United Kingdom

An archaeological project and community museum in Agua Blanca, Ecuador, have helped catalyse a remarkable process of ecological and cultural awareness complemented by economic advances.

Some 25 years after the museum’s inauguration, as well as visiting the archaeological site and museum, tourists can observe the machalilla national park’s distinctive flora and fauna, camp, hike, swim, stay in village homes, buy locally made handcrafts, and eat in the community restaurant. These initiatives have been set up by the village in collaboration with local, national, and overseas agencies, in ways which spread benefits as widely as possible.

After the introduction of a new constitution in 2008, which recognises the multi-ethnic character of Ecuador’s population, Agua Blanca and adjacent communities asked to be officially recognised as ‘pueblo manta’ — an identity derived from the area’s pre-Spanish archaeology.

In this Guest Lecture, Chris Hudson will discuss how Agua Blanca’s experience shows that much can be achieved through confidence in cultural identity, and that locally managed community tourism brings tangible economic benefits to local people, while serving to protect vulnerable archaeological sites from destruction.

About the Speaker

Chris Hudson

Principal Designer at Chris Hudson Designs

With a degree in 3D Design and postgraduate degree in Development Planning (UCL), Chris Hudson began work at the British Museum Exhibition Office and went on to run the British Volunteer Programme in Ecuador and design four archaeological museums in Ecuador and Peru. In the UK he designed the Kilmartin House Museum (Argyll), Sutton Hoo Interpretation, and Cloister Gallery at Dorchester Abbey. He is interested in the contribution museums and archaeology make to 'cultural confidence' and identity, and teaches on the Public Archaeology MA at UCL Institute of Archaeology.