Participatory Research on Youth Engagement

Empower also takes part in and co-leads participatory research on youth engagement, sexual health, and harm reduction. We’ve presented our work at a number of local, national, and even international conferences. Here’s a sample of what we’ve been up to!

Picturing Participation is a community-based participatory research project that uses photography to explore how different stakeholders in the HIV sector understand engagement. Empower was a partner on this project. Click the link above to see images from the project and to download a copy of our project report.

Together, we created a framework for thinking about youth engagement and harm reduction. We presented our framework at many local conferences for service providers. We also wrote about it in a book! See the links below for more information.

If you want a copy of this article, please email Sarah Switzer at switzers[at]

To download a copy of our poster, click here.


Switzer, S, Lyrauu, T., Apong, K., Bell, O, Manual Smith, C, Hernandez, L., S., McWhinney, P.G., Paroah, S., Seidu, F., Bykes,A. (2018) What’s glitter got to do with it?: Re-imagining harm reduction, decision-making and the politics of youth engagement. In Smith, C. & Marshall, Z (eds.) Critical Perspectives on Harm Reduction: Conflict, Institutionalization, Co-optation, Depoliticization, and Direct Action. Nova Publishers: New York.

Apong, K., Ferguson, T., Switzer. S. (May 2018). Re-imagining Possibilities for Youth Engagement. Presentation for Wisdom to Action: Youth Engagement Forum. YMCA, Toronto, ON.

Switzer, S., Hernandez, L., Ferguson, B., Manuel-Smith, E., S. Pariah. (April 2017). Engaging Youth in Peer-Led Harm Reduction Programs. Presentation for the Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program. Ramada, Toronto.

Lyraruu, T & Switzer, S. (June 2015). Glitter Matters: The Magic of Co-Creation Alongside Youth in HIV Programming. Workshop Presented to the Guelph Sexuality Conference. University of Guelph, Guelph.

Switzer, S, Lyrauu, T., Apong, K., Bell, O, Manual Smith, C, Hernandez, L.,, Stransky, S., McWhinney, PG., Seidu,F.,  (April 2015). What’s glitter got to do with it?: Exploring youth engagement and HIV prevention programming. Poster Presentation for The Canadian Association for HIV Research. Metro Convention Centre, Toronto.