The Effects of Neighbourhood, Community, and Social Networks on Marginalized Youths’ Well-being: An Arts-based Approach


  • Kevin de Leon
  • Lynda M Ashbourne
  • Jane Robson



Action research and arts-based activities were used to investigate the experiences of youths, ages 16-20 years, in the Guelph community who identified as being socially marginalized through poverty and/or unstable housing. The focus of the group was on identifying the influences of structural violence in their lives. As part of their discussions, they identified the ways in which their personal safety and well-being, their sense of feeling comfortable and included in the broader community, and their presence and role within this community were influenced by the ways others in their neighbourhoods and social networks treated them. In particular, they described the assumptions and treatment by others that were based on classism and ageism as excluding them and threatening their feelings of safety and well-being when living on the street and/or receiving social assistance. The youth group expressed these ideas through discussion, photovoice, and drawing their version of a ‘community map.’ This paper includes examples of these participant-produced arts projects to demonstrate their observations and ideas.