• Melanie Sarantou, Taina Kontio and Satu Miettinen
  • melaniesarantou@gmail.com
  • University of Lapland, Finland


The Hero’s Journey is an embodied game activity based on the monomyth of Joseph​ Campbell (1949). This participatory art-based activity served as a research instrument in a​  development context in southern Africa with marginalised San youth. One of the​ outcomes of employing this art-based activity in research was the development of the GRACE model which encompasses grass-root participation, art, creativity, embodiment,​ ​expression and empowerment. This paper asks how participatory and art-based methods​ enable the dialogical and solution orientated GRACE model to function in development​ work within marginalised communities. The paper discusses how improvisation facilitates power distribution when participatory art-based methods are applied.​ ​Improvisation permits continuous negotiation processes with stakeholders, thus enabling communities to participate in development activities in power sensitive settings.