This article investigates the collaborative and creative methodologies behind a project that sought to involve secondary school students in making art that responded to conversations with academics about research. This became the basis for a virtual gallery of their work representing university research. The article describes a particular university–school partnership, with a focus on creative, innovative methodologies for engagement, on young people's meaning-making and maker skills. We explore the potential of digital technologies for supporting this work, and the need to work collaboratively with artists and other skilled individuals to realize young people's capacity. This model is not focused on transmission, but on joint knowledge-creation and co-production. The article also explores the potential of arts-based methodologies to support young people's creative engagement with university research as a widening participation oriented methodology.