Notre Dame sociologist Samuel Valenzuela has especially strong ties with Chile. His work frequently explores the Chilean case, placing it in a comparative context drawn usually from cases in Western Europe and the Americas. He is enthusiastic to build further connections with colleagues in the PUC sociology department. The sociology departments in the two universities have similar sizes, and emphasize similar fields like religion, education, and the family.
Theology has become a relevant new area of cooperation for PUC’s Rector Sánchez. This area of cooperation was boosted by the year-long sabbatical done by theology professor Peter Casarella (August 2014 – June 2015) at PUC. Professor Casarella’s sabbatical at PUC helped encourage PUC theology professor Rocío Cortés to pursue a Ph.D. in theology at Notre Dame, and began the discussion for a dual Ph.D. program which is currently being developed. We have seen on several occasions that longer sabbatical exchanges are very helpful in triggering new projects and strengthening the collaboration between Notre Dame and local institutions. Additionally, Fr. Timothy Scully was invited by Rector Ignacio Sánchez to integrate an international review committee of the PUC theology faculty in April 2017.
Chilean artist and Notre Dame visiting assistant professor of sculpture Tomás Rivas earned a bachelor of fine arts and post-baccalaureate degree from PUC and his master's degree in sculpture from Notre Dame. Rivas’ work deals with the genealogical tensions between two and three-dimensional systems and fluctuates between drawing, sculpture, and architecture. Playing with linear perspective, ornamentation, and unorthodox materials, Rivas’ work also investigates how the viewer’s cultural expectations frame perception. He hopes to build bridges between the two universities in the area of fine arts.
Carmen-Helena Téllez, head of the conducting studio in the sacred music program at Notre Dame, is developing a project in collaboration with theatre professor Anton Juan, to create interdisciplinary sacred music dramas that would be innovative, interactive, and immersive. The third of these sacred dramas is an original work based on Dante's Divine Comedy, with libretto by Robin Kirkpatrick (University of Cambridge), and original composition by Robert Kyr (University of Oregon); Téllez is the artistic and music director. They envisioned the possibility of presenting this in Chile in collaboration with PUC theater and music departments.
Funded by a Luksic Fellowship, Téllez conducted an exploratory trip to Santiago in October 2016 to engage in a colloquium on interdisciplinary arts with the PUC music and theatre departments, and see if they can co-create a Chilean version of the Notre Dame Dante Project in the near future. Daniel Party, director of graduate research of the School of Art at PUC, and Alexei Vergara, director of the PUC theater department, visited Notre Dame in October 2016 to see the Dante Project.