La Ponte


La Ponte

Case Study Contents

1. Ecomuseum Data

Ecomuseum Name

La Ponte

Date of Creation



Centro Tecnológico El Sabil s/n. 33115, Villanueva de Santo Adriano, Asturias


+34 985 76 14 03

1.1. Description of the Ecomuseum

The La Ponte-Ecomuséu project was born in 2011 with the aim of mobilizing a series of heritage resources in a mid-mountain municipality in the central area of Asturias (northwestern Spain). This territory, like others in rural Asturias, presents important socio-economic problems, clear socio-economic needs, demographic decline, migration of the young population, withdrawal of traditional economic activities and low diversification of the existing ones, dependence on public administrations, etc.

In this context, the Ponte-Ecomuséu was constituted by professionals related to various sciences, mostly related to heritage (archeology, ethnography, history, etc.), as a possible way to provide solutions to some of these problems.  This communitarian initiative gave rise to the creation of an ecomuseum, coordinated by experts, technicians and neighbors.

Throughout the years, the ecomuseum has carried out research, protection and dissemination of heritage, involving different groups in the processes of heritage and its socialization, and betting on a horizontal organization that works in a communitarian way. One of its greatest achievements has been to achieve that the public Administrations, for the first time in Asturias, delegate the management of a public asset of special protection to a civil association. This action has been a way of calling on the responsibility that each individual has over their territory and heritage, and to the processes of Critical Culture that must be linked to a project like this.

La Ponte is a permanent laboratory of ideas and actions. A “social enterprise of knowledge” that utilizes parameters of the business environment within an economic rationality, that works with a model of communitarian participation and communal lucrative purpose, and that intends, through knowledge, to apply traditional and academic knowledge to a particular reality.

1.2. Members of the Ecomuseum

Name of the person in charge

Jesús Fernández Fernández. Director (

Violeta Gomis García. Dissemination and Interpretation Manager (

Number of ecomuseum team members

1 director, 1 person employed, 15-20 people from the Network (volunteers and/or staff paid per activity carried out), the community of the Santo Adriano Council.

Qualification/training of team members

The ecomuseum’s members and collaborators have different educational backgrounds, from professional training, intermediate and higher education programs, degrees in various areas of knowledge, to postgraduate level training: masters and doctorates. The most frequent disciplines in which they are trained and qualified are:

  • Museology.
  • Archaeology.
  • Agricultural Engineering.
  • Anthropology / Ethnography.
  • Sociocultural Animation.
  • Social Work.
  • History.
  • Fine Arts.
  • Classical Philology.


The ecomuseum’s training activities are carried out: (1) internally, for members of the team (hired and volunteers); (2) and externally, for members of the community and outside community members. It should be noted that La Ponte-Ecomuseu is an association that arises from members of the community itself, so some of the training activities are carried out by people who belong either to the ecomuseum team or the community of the Council of Santo Adriano.

Internal training is mainly dedicated to deepening the methodology for the dissemination and the interpretation of the region’s heritage, the creation of itineraries and technical specialization for the work with the community, the territory and the heritage.

Training for the community (and members of the ecomuseum team) is focused on offering tools, methodologies and innovations applied to the territory, as well as on the recovery of traditions, knowledge and know-how, and oral memory. Thus, can be highlighted courses and workshops on agroecology, wellness and health or oral memory of adults

The ecomuseum, on the other hand, states that it has training needs in management and administration of organizations and economic resources, communication skills in traditional and digital media, image improvement and analysis of the impact of its communication and marketing, and aspects related to skills in local relations with members of the community, especially with the adult population.

Some Examples of Training offered by the Ecomuseum

Interpretación del PatrimonioCourse centered on learning the methodologies of heritage interpretation.X
AgroecologíaSeveral courses and workshops for the implementation of sustainable farming and the use of organic fertilizersXX
Música tradicionalWorkshops for the teaching of playing traditional musical instrumentsX
ArqueologíaCourse carried out in collaboration with the University of Oviedo for carrying out archaeological work.XX
ItineranciaLocal management training project developed in Cantabria, where La Ponte was a partner-trainer.XX
Taller Andechando cola TradiciónA series of workshops to recover the community's knowledge: bread making, wool spinning and spinning, cider making, etc.X

Some Examples of Training Needs Identified

ManagementAdministration and management of institutions, accounting, etc.AllX
ComunicationCommunication techniques in diverse media: creation of corporate image, communication with traditional media, social networks, etc.AllX
Memory managementTraining to apply knowledge of oral and collective memory in order to have an impact on the Present.In-personX
Presentation of projects and grantsDevelopment, drafting and submission of research projects and grants from local, regional, State and international calls for proposals.AllX
Social skillsTo deepen the methodologies to establish empathetic contacts with the local population.AllX
Sustainable way of lifeFostering other forms of consumptionAllX

3. Funding and Resources

Type of entity
Private (associative).
Official status
Annual budget
25000 €

La Ponte-Ecomuéu is a non-profit association that considers itself a social enterprise of knowledge. Its objectives are focused on raising awareness of the socio-territorial reality in which it is located and the generation of resources to promote social, cultural and economic development. This vision means that its funding is aimed at supporting activities and projects in this direction. However, one of its goals is to obtain stable jobs within the organization and the remuneration of professionals who carry out specific jobs for the organization.

The fixed expenses that the ecomuseum has are derived from the consumption of electricity, telephone, insurance, the agency that performs the administrative and accounting management tasks, and the only permanent contract of the entity. On the other hand, some other variable expenses that arise each year are design and layout (web page, brochures, books, magazines, etc.), drafting and preparation of projects and subventions, and the contracting of technicians in charge of courses, workshops, projects, etc.

Funding for the ecomuseum comes from different sources:

  • Membership fees. It is a minimal part, since by its statutes every member of the community is automatically a member of La Ponte and is not obliged to pay dues (i.e.: fees are not required),
  • Subsidies. The ecomuseum has occasional subsidies from regional and state administrations in order to develop concrete actions. Some examples are the collaboration with the Principado de Asturias for the management and diffusion of the Bienes de Interés Cultural (BIC) of the zone; the collaboration with the University of Burgos and the University of Oviedo for the organization of workshops, courses, conferences, etc.; or with the Government of Cantabria for the organisation and participation in meetings such as Rural Experimenta III.
  • Research projects. One of the characteristics of ecomuseums is the integration of professionals, technicians and academics in its team. This allows them to apply for local, state and international research projects. They are managing European (Erasmus+) and regional (Principado de Asturias) funds for the development of projects.

The ecomuseum considers that rather than innovation, they are diversifying the spaces in which they can obtain financial support. The structure of the entity and the diverse profiles that compose the team allow them to have multiple financing. In addition, it allows them to make one of the cornerstones of the entity become a reality, which is not to depend on a single source of income or a single institution to provide it.

It is true that such diversification and the vision towards a critical culture, where scientific knowledge and local knowledge merge and dialogue, has meant that the way to innovate is, in the words of part of the team: “to shoot high and look upwards, towards Europe, for example”.

At present, they continue to develop projects to expand the sources of financing which, of course, have an impact on the local economy and the territory. Local consumption and agroecology groups are a great potential for sustainable production and consumption that would generate economic activity in the area.

4. Social and Community Participation

The activities of the Ecomuseum are designed for the population of the council and the foreign population (visitors-tourists). The participation of the community in the activities organized by the Ecomuseum is about 15-20 people, which may seem a low figure, but we must be aware that the population census is 250 inhabitants, although residents are around half of them. This participation is bidirectional: they participate in the activities and propose activities and actions. It should be specified that some of the population is of older age, which makes their participation in some of the actions more complex. In this regard, the team we interviewed gave the example of the oral memory workshop on health, which traditionally depended on local women. It was a challenge and hard work to involve all the women due to socio-demographic and cultural aspects.

Regarding the visitor population, most of them are national tourists, mainly from Madrid and Asturias. The average number of visitors per year is about 1000 people, except in the post-confinement year, 2021, which was 250, since school visits were cancelled.

The public visiting the ecomuseum’s itineraries is usually of three categories: (1) a specialized public that demands a specific offer and carries out the activities in small groups; (2) larger groups that come on a circuit arranged with a travel agency, with less knowledge and less time for the visit; (3) captive public groups (mainly schoolchildren), to whom a didactic visit appropriate to the curriculum of their educational level is offered.

The involvement of this sector is reduced, but in relation to type (1) there are sometimes people who have become associated with the entity and have even proposed activities.

4.1. Local Population

Number of inhabitants of the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
250 person
Number of members of the local population involved in the ecomuseum
All community members are members of Ecomuseum

Ways of participation

The participation mechanisms are as follows:

  • Cultural itineraries. These are designed to make the local population aware of their own heritage and to provide an offer to the foreign population.
  • Courses, workshops and seminars. These are the main areas of participation. Every action of the ecomuseum is based on the initiative of the community and tries to promote collective memory.
  • Work committees and assemblies. La Ponte-Ecomuseu is organized through working groups and participatory assemblies where participation is carried out within the parameters of “cultural democracy”.

4.2. Social milieu

Number of visitors from the territory/locality where the ecomuseum is located
250 residents, 100 real inhabitants, an active participation around 20.
Number of foreign visitors
An average of 1000 visits. However, during the confinement and opening period there were only 250.

Forms of involvement

The participation channels are as follows:

  • Cultural itineraries. These are designed to make the local population aware of their own heritage and to provide an offer to the foreign population.
  • Courses, workshops and seminars. These are the main focuses of participation. All of the ecomuseum’s actions are based on the initiative of the community and attempt to promote collective memory.
  • The website and social networks are also a means of interaction.
  • The Cuadiernu Journal. It is one of the ways in which the project is disseminated and generates synergies with other experiences and professionals outside its territory.

4.3. Website analisis

It is not being carried out. According to the declarations of the team members, this is due to a lack of time and staff. They recognize that it is a lack and that it should be one of the actions that the ecomuseum should carry out. Indeed, the digital visualization (website, social networks, etc.) is only a minor image of what the project really is and what it means for the territory and the community.

Type of intervention made possible by the website

Only information Chance to suggest actions Complaints or Compliments Purchase of tickets Open access or under registration

Kinds of suggestions available

Proposing museum objectives On funding issues About museum planning On accessibility

Quality of Feedback

Receipt message is sent The proposal is discussed at the museum management level Results of the discussion are sent

The main interaction of the ecomuseum is done through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube channels and the comments left by users on the website.

5. Innovation and Research

The ecomuseum is founded on the premise of social innovation, i.e.: “new ideas or processes that both meet different social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and contribute to the creation of new relationships and/or collaborations. In other words, they are innovations that are good for society while improving its capacity to act”. It is therefore understood as an innovation that goes beyond technological, industrial and business aspects. Any process and/or product of innovation must start from the social level and must have an impact on it.

The very existence of La Ponte is an innovation in its territory. Without this initiative, most of the actions and projects developed by La Ponte would not be carried out. The innovation lies in the fact that it unites the rigor of research with local needs, with the knowledge of the population and with the participation of the community. This involvement of the local population in the management of knowledge and its impact on the present is what makes it an innovative project.

The examples of (social) innovation of La Ponte-Ecomuséu have to be considered from the whole of the project itself, which implies, on the one hand, that all research that is developed must be connected with the current reality and, on the other hand, to manage the collective memory.

Some examples would be:

  • Interpretive itineraries. They show the heritage and the humanized landscape from a different narrative.
  • Workshops. They are the way to make visible the collective memory and the axis of the participation of the community.
  • Organization. The structure of committees and assemblies encourages direct participation in decision-making.

6. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Number of SDGs that the ecomuseum is working on
Preferential SDGs
3, 4, 5 y 11

SDG-related projects/actions

Interpretive itinerariesInterpretation of the heritage for an understanding of its historical, social, cultural and economic dimensions.3, 11
SaludrianoProject developed by the city council and the ecomuseum to improve health and wellness.3
Historical consciousnessWorkshops for the recovery of collective memory.4
Workshops with schoolsPedagogical activities.4
Project to make women's work and memory in rural areas more visibleThere is a working group for gender topics that works on the recovery of memory.5
Gender Working GroupResearch and dissemination of women in the prehistory, women in the history of the rural world, etc.
Employment contractLa Ponte's goal is to generate a sustainable economy and jobs.8 - 8.9
Workshops, conferences, projects, etc.It is the core activity of La Ponte-Ecomuséu.11 - 11.4
Agri-food exchange groupFocused on sustainable production and ecological use of the territory.12, 13
Agreements with other entitiesEcomuseum has created a network at local, state and international level. It works and collaborates with professionals from different countries and disciplines, and with entities such as the Bishopric, the Principado de Asturias, the Ministry of Culture, etc.18

The way in which La Ponte-Ecomuseu understands sustainability does not conform to the established standards. Sustainability is intrinsic to local (rural) populations. Their way of life and their survival depends on making their environment sustainable and adapting to the changing times and contemporary evolutions.

One of the parameters of the ecomuseum is the sustainability of non-locatable resources, such as the cultural and patrimonial manifestations of the Romanesque, the caves with parietal artistic representations, the generation of local employment, etc.

7. COVID-19

Activity during the confinement was at a minimum. The alternative was virtualization, but the Assembly of the ecomuseum decided to paralyze the actions and to wait for the return to normality. The main reason was that their work is developed with resources from the territory and with the community, an aging population. The main objective was to preserve the health of the population. This had an impact on the cancellation of outreach work, workshops, itineraries, etc.; and the cancellation of contracts that were not restarted until the beginning of 2021.

However, scientific activities were maintained: publication of books and the journal, dissemination through the writing of articles, project proposals, etc.


Scientific Coordinators

Leandro França, Barbara Kazior, Óscar Navajas, Manuel Parodi-Álvarez, Lisa Pigozzi, Raul dal Santo, Julio Seoane, Maristela Simão