Trinity Welcomes Visiting Scholars from Puerto Rico for Weeklong Residencies

Photographer Erika P. Rodríguez to Participate in Public Talk on Tuesday, February 6

​Hartford, Connecticut, February 2, 2018—This semester, Trinity College will host visiting scholars from Puerto Rico whose weeklong residencies will feature public talks and workshops for students. The residencies are supported by the Trinity College for Puerto Rico (TCforPR) fund, which was created soon after Hurricane María devastated the island last fall. Supporting Puerto Rican scholars is just one of the ways in which the Trinity community chose to offer assistance.

The first of these scholars to visit Trinity from Puerto Rico for a weeklong residency—from February 5 to 9—is freelance photographer Erika P. Rodríguez (right), in coordination with Trinity’s Center for Caribbean Studies and Studio Arts Program. Rodríguez is a documentary photographer and photojournalist based in San Juan whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The New York Times, the Center of Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico, and El Nuevo Día.

During her visit, Rodríguez will work with students and participate in a public talk called “Picturing María: The Wrath and Aftermath of a Hurricane,” which will feature Rodríguez and Hartford Courant photographer Patrick Raycraft in conversation with Trinity Professor of Fine Arts Pablo Delano. The talk will be held on Tuesday, February 6, at 12:15 p.m. in the Dangremond Family Commons in Trinity’s Hallden Hall.

Delano said, “What makes Erika’s work special to me is the fact that she has a very thoughtful, nuanced, and complex way of observing the world. Whereas some news photographers may focus on the center of activity or the most dramatic moment, she is often looking at the impact that a dramatic moment has on regular people. The pictures have a very compelling element to them and they can tell a story in a way that words can’t.”

Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Language and Culture Studies Anne Lambright said that the TCforPR fund has received contributions from the offices of Trinity College President Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Dean of the Faculty Tim Cresswell, and many academic departments, faculty members, and staff members. “Many scholars lost their labs or their libraries in the hurricane,” Lambright said. “It is a very difficult environment in which to continue researching or teaching. Trinity wanted to be supportive, but not overly interruptive. With short-term residencies, scholars can come here and use lab space or use our library, engage with other scholars and students, and start thinking about possibilities for the future.”

​Photograph by Erika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times
 The goal of this effort, Lambright said, is not just to support the visiting scholars, but to strengthen Trinity’s ties with Puerto Rico. “This is something that we feel is essential given the deeply Puerto Rican character of Hartford and the city’s Puerto Rican population. Strengthening those ties is very important.”

Later this semester, Trinity’s English Department will host Maritza Stanchich, a professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, from February 26 to March 2. Stanchich teaches Caribbean, Latina/o and U.S. literatures and previously worked as an award-winning journalist. Her recent columns for The Huffington Post and The New York Times helped bring international attention to the crisis in Puerto Rico. Stanchich is scheduled to give a public talk called “Natural and Artificial Disasters Decades in the Making: Puerto Rico as Exemplary” at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, in Mather Hall’s Alumni Lounge. Stanchich will also be available to meet with students, classes, and public groups.

The History Department at Trinity will host the residency of Professor Juan Angel Giusti Cordero, a historian from the University of Puerto Rico, from March 5 to 8. He will visit with classes, deliver a lecture titled “Rethinking Maria: Notes on Puerto Rico’s Hurricane History since 1825” at 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, in Hallden Hall’s Dangremond Family Commons, and will participate in the “Health in Caribbean Hartford” forum to be held by the Center for Caribbean Studies at Trinity on March 6 and 7.

Trinity’s Department of Language and Culture Studies is organizing the weeklong residencies of Rosa Luisa Márquez, a professor and theatre director from the University of Puerto Rico, and Antonio Martorell, a Puerto Rican visual artist and performer, from March 19 to 23. Together, they will present the LACS Distinguished Lecture/Performance on Thursday, March 22, at 4:30 p.m.

Márquez is a Puerto Rican theater artist and pedagogue who specializes in contemporary theater. She started her teaching career at the theater department of the University of Puerto Rico in 1978. She developed the current curriculum of drama activities, which she teaches in her workshops at schools, prisons, rehab centers, women’s shelters, and community centers.

Martorell is a printmaker, painter, draftsman, installation artist, stage and costume designer, writer, illustrator, and teacher. He is one of the most prolific Puerto Rican artists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and a direct heir of the graphic tradition initiated by the masters of the island’s “Fifties Generation.”

In addition to their performance on March 22, Márquez and Martorell will conduct a theatre workshop with students and will participate in a panel discussion addressing creating art in Puerto Rico in an environment of economic crisis, particularly after Hurricane María. The panel discussion will be held Wednesday, March 21, at 4:00 p.m. in Hallden Hall’s Dangremond Family Commons.

Lambright said that Trinity may host more visiting scholars in the fall semester. “We’d like to continue raising money and make this a more sustainable effort—something that enriches the Trinity and Hartford communities and strengthens our ties with Puerto Rico,” she said.

Written by Andrew J. Concatelli


 Those wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution to the TCforPR fund may do so by calling Trinity’s 24-hour gift line at 1-800-771-6184 or by going to the Trinity College online donation form and following these instructions: Select “I want to target my impact”; in the pop-up window, check the “Other” box and press “Continue”; and in the “Other Designations” field, type “Trinity for Puerto Rico.”