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Involvement in Research Through Participatory Arts: 'Hidden LIVE – Adam's Story'

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Involvement in Research Through Participatory Arts: 'Hidden LIVE – Adam's Story'

A new paper, published in Child Adolescent Mental Health explores the use of participatory arts to create a theatre production titled  "Hidden LIVE - Adam's Story."


In recent years, participatory arts have gained recognition for involving the public in various forms of creative expression, such as film, music, photography, and theatre. This approach has shown potential value in public and patient participation in health and care research by allowing individuals to creatively express their perspectives and experiences related to health conditions, treatments, and services. Participatory arts can also offer a platform for healthcare professionals to reflect on their practice.


"Hidden LIVE – Adam's story", which was first performed in May 2022, addresses the mental health challenges faced by young people. It combines a pre-recorded podcast narrating a fictional young person's story with a live monologue from a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) caseworker's perspective. The aim of the production was to raise awareness, and to encourage discussions about solutions related to youth mental health.


An interactive workshop followed the performance, enabling attendees to share their experiences and brainstorm ways to enhance the well-being of young individuals dealing with mental health issues.


"Hidden LIVE – Adam's story" was co-produced with 10 young individuals aged 17 to 24 from Greater Manchester with personal or supportive experiences related to their mental health. They collaborated with an arts-based company Made by Mortals and health researchers from National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration Greater Manchester (ARC-GM) across eight online workshops to develop the production, focussing on the challenging transition from CAMHS to adult mental health services. Together, they shaped the character, script, recording, and soundtrack.


In the creation of "Hidden LIVE – Adam's story", co-production principles played a pivotal role in promoting collaboration, equity, and shared responsibility among team members. Young participants were treated as true collaborators, one of the young people, Ashgan, 21, talks about their experience working on this project here.



Dr Andrew Grundy (Lived Experience Researcher) and author of the paper commented:


"This paper defines and then evidences co-production principles put into practice in this theatre production. It will benefit anyone working in the participatory arts, and in involvement activities, showing what it might mean to work towards co-production principles. We’ve now worked with some of the young people on the team to develop an evaluation questionnaire to formally capture the impacts of the performance on attendees."



Using co-production principles in health and care and research can guide public involvement in participatory arts and improve engagement. The participatory arts are effective in addressing mental health issues by empowering service users and healthcare professionals but more research is needed to understand the benefits and challenges, both for young participants and attendees, and to formally evaluate such projects.



Watch a video abstract of this paper here:




Read the paper in full here:




Published 03/10/2023

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