Engaging youth in post-disaster research: Lessons learned from a creative methods approach

Lori Peek
Jennifer Tobin-Gurley
Robin S Cox
Leila Scannell
Sarah Fletcher
Cheryl Heykoop


Children and youth often demonstrate resilience and capacity in the face of disasters. Yet, they are typically not given the opportunities to engage in youth-driven research and lack access to official channels through which to contribute their perspectives to policy and practice during the recovery process. To begin to fill this void in research and action, this multi-site research project engaged youth from disaster-affected communities in Canada and the United States. This article presents a flexible youth-centric workshop methodology that uses participatory and arts-based methods to elicit and explore youth’s disaster and recovery experiences. The opportunities and challenges associated with initiating and maintaining partnerships, reciprocity and youth-adult power differentials using arts-based methods, and sustaining engagement in post-disaster settings, are discussed. Ultimately, this work contributes to further understanding of the methods being used to conduct research for, with, and about youth.

Keywords: youth, disaster recovery, engagement, resilience, arts-based methods, participatory research

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5130/ijcre.v9i1.4875

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