A participatory arts-based project using social-emotional learning methodology will capture the adolescents’ coping mechanisms to face emotional distress before and during the COVID-19 pandemic through audio-visual and creative writing tools.

We recruited six adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 who had an interest in mental health, the humanities, and the arts. 

A total of seven artistic group workshops were held with the aim to strengthen the creative and communicative skills of the adolescents, through basic technical training in audiovisual expression and creative writing.

During this time, the adolescents had one-to-one sessions with facilitators who supported and guided them on the processes of how to conduct an interview and then write about them.

In total, the ‘trained’ adolescents carried out 11-14 semi-structured interviews with young people between the ages of 12 and 21 centred around their experiences during the pandemic and the coping strategies they used to manage their emotions.

In addition to this, using their training from the artistic workshops, adolescents took some photographs which captured the essence of the themes discussed in the interviews alongside written captions.

The ‘trained’ adolescents also produced a 1000-word narrative piece based on their own experiences during the pandemic.

At the end of the project, each of the adolescents were interviewed by the research team. These interviews focused on their experience during COVID-19, exploring how the arts project had an impact on their lives and comprehension of mental health, and how certain artistic disciplines (particularly photography and creative writing) can be useful when dealing with emotional distress.

All of the written pieces and photographs from the ‘trained’ adolescents were collated and created into a book which was launched during the BRiCs Arts Exhibition at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in May 2022.

Participatory arts project with adolescents in Colombia: Mental Health and COVID-19 (BRiCs study)

Photovoice findings of adolescents experience during COVID-19 (BRiCs research study)

Digital diary of adolescents experience of photovoice project (BRiCs research study)