The PAR3TY project - PAR3 for Teens and Young Adults Living with Cancer



Partners and collaborators

Dr Will Weigler, Independent Practitioner and Scholar, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Postgraduate students

Kate Crook, Research Assistant


Cancer in Adults and Young Adolescents (AYAs) coincides with major life transitions such as getting a job, going to college, or leaving home. The new onset of serious illness at this time of life presents unique medical and psychosocial challenges for AYAs and yet the needs of this group remain largely unmet. This project seeks to engage a small group (6-10) of AYAs online between the ages of 16-24, in a participatory arts process that sees them take an active role in conveying how their care can be improved by sharing their lived experiences and insights with cancer care allies through performance. These allies include family members, policy makers, health care professionals and other organisations involved in the care, treatment, and support of AYAs with cancer. 

The project will be co-created by the research participants. The project is centred on the implementation of three qualitative research methodologies: Patient Activated Research, Participatory Action Research, and Performance As Research. Active participation lies at the heart of each of these methodologies. It will adopt a range of arts-based approaches to uncover, reveal and illuminate the experience of being a young adult cancer patient and to share this via expressive means with cancer care allies. These arts-based approaches might include visual art, poetry, storytelling, creative writing, improvisation etc. and will be determined by the interests of the participant group and facilitated by the research team online.  Rather than sharing personal stories about their lives, the specific theatre techniques adopted by the team will enable participants to devise artistically compelling performances and short films in which they can anonymously express their collective and individual insights in relation to their experience – in this instance, their experiences surrounding cancer, with an invited audience of cancer care allies.

The project will be exploring the following questions:
1. How can PAR3 enable AYAs to safely and meaningfully deepen their understandings and illuminate their insights about AYA cancer care?
2. How can PAR3 provoke deeper understandings of AYA cancer care for cancer care allies?
3. How can PAR3 activate cancer care systems change and/or transformation?