We present research findings from an arts-based research (ABR) project that aimed to redress the symbolic effects of negative recognition associated with place-based stigma. Focusing on two prominently stigmatised neighbourhoods in Melbourne and Hobart (Australia), we explain the rationale for the study and how arts-based tactics were used for phenomenological explorations of familiar environments and to generate alternate, faithful and compelling portrayals of neighbourhoods that stemmed from residents’ actual experiences. Our approach to ABR blended sociological concerns with socially engaged practices that emphasised creative and dialogic tactics, provocations and immersive experiences. We explain how art-based tactics were incorporated into artist residency projects that comprised four parts: local induction; excursions to art galleries; a six-week workshop programme; and exhibition events. Following this, interviews were conducted with artist-residents at the conclusion of the projects. Both the artistic outcomes and participants’ reflections provide evidence that blending socially engaged art practices and participatory methods can help residents and researchers navigate the internalised effects of stigma in processes of meaning-making.