This paper presents empirical and methodological findings from an art-based, participatory process with a group (n = 16) of adolescent and young advisors in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. In a weekend workshop, participants reflected on their participation in 12 years of health and development-related research through theatre, song, visual methodologies and semi-structured interviews. Empirical findings suggest that participants interpreted the group research encounter as a site of empowerment, social support and as a socio-political endeavour. Through song, theatre and a mural illustration, they demonstrated that they value ‘unity’ in research, with the aim of ameliorating the conditions of adolescents and young people in other parts of South Africa and the continent. Methodological findings document how participants deployed art-based approaches from South Africa’s powerful history of activism, including the struggle against apartheid, the fight for anti-retroviral therapy and more recent social movements towards decolonization.

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