Frances Anderson, distinguished professor of art, emerita, and former director of the graduate art therapy program at Illinois State University, is currently working as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Pakistan. She is using her expertise in art therapy to help young children who have been displaced and traumatized by the massive flooding in that country.
Anderson is presenting art therapy workshops in Islamabad, Pakistan, for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) workers and other non-governmental organization staff who have been overwhelmed by the huge number of flood victims. Local volunteers and university graduate psychology students are also attending the workshops.
“Art is the first language of traumatized children” said Anderson. “Art gives opportunities to express the trauma and horrors that children have experienced during and after the flood. There will never be enough trained art therapists in this world to help all the traumatized children. What I can do is provide some basic art and listening skills for the workers.”
This is an unprecedented fifth Fulbright for Anderson. She was the first art therapist in the U.S. to receive a Fulbright Scholar Award and spent four months teaching art therapy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Other Fulbright awards have taken her to Taiwan and Thailand. This past April, Anderson was one of two academics to receive Fulbright Senior Specialist awards to present at the Fulbright Conference commemorating 60 years of the Fulbright in Pakistan. She traveled to the northern areas of Pakistan near K2 and taught art therapy at Korakorum International University in Gilgit, Baltistan. Anderson is a founding member of the American Art Therapy Association.