Engagement in creative art activities has shown to enhance youth’s psychosocial wellbeing and increase their participation in contexts of adversity. This paper explores the ways that YouCreate, a youth-led arts-based Participatory Action Research (PAR) pilot project designed by the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and Terre des hommes, provides a space for youth who have experienced migration and adversity to enhance their experience of meaningful participation. 950 youth in Egypt and Iraq were involved in youth-led psychosocial arts and community change projects. The research revealed that at a personal level, youth gained a sense of purpose and hope that supported them to envision a future, as well as developed artistic skills, life skills and a sense of self-discovery. Youth found new ways to express themselves, and the confidence to engage with their peers and fellow community members. Youth gained social respect from members of their family, community and from their peers, and social cohesion increased as they learned how to create communities inclusive of gender and ethnicity. Logistical, procedural and ethical challenges arose through the pilot which were navigated throughout YouCreate that led to important learning. This research revealed the power that an arts-based PAR method can have on strengthening youth’s wellbeing and enhancing their capacity and opportunities to engage in wider society, including in decision making.