Conference Description

What difference does this make? Ten years of arts-based work with youth in addressing HIV & AIDS

This symposium was organized around forty-nine national and international researchers  along with youth, NGOs, and policy makers gathered at the Salt Rock Beach Hotel north of Durban; South Africa from 4 – 6 December.  

We had invited papers, posters, exhibitions, and other arts-based representations on a variety of themes related to “What difference does this make? The arts, youth and HIV & AIDS”. This interactive invitational conference explored three questions:

  1. How are the visual arts being used to address youth sexuality and HIV & AIDS, and what approaches are being used to look at the impact of this work?
  2. What lessons can be drawn from visual and other arts-based approaches to addressing HIV & AIDS in working with youth in South Africa and within the global community over the past 10 years?
  3. How might we look forward and in so doing consolidate the integration of participatory visual and other arts-based methods into HIV & AIDS-related work with youth in a variety of geographic and spatial contexts?

The conference led off with a key note address by Jessica Yee, Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. As she noted, indigenous youth and other racialized youth in North America are often described as “marginalized”, “vulnerable”, and more “at-risk” when it comes to the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and really any health outcome imaginable. Yet why is there no accountability simultaneously described when these words are used for HOW and WHY people become so-called “marginalized”, “vulnerable”, and more “at-risk”? Do these things just magically happen on their own? What are the uncomfortable conversations and realities we need to come to terms with in the ongoing existence of colonialism that Indigenous youth and other racialized youth experience?

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