In design research, critique has recently been voiced against the multiple ways the notion of participation is understood and practiced. Studies of performativity and performance art have been used to account for this methodological multiplicity. However, in this article, we argue that participation still has much to offer design research as a foundational concept, but that a more nuanced understanding is required. Further, we offer such an understanding by presenting three theories and methodologies from participatory art. The value of participatory art for design research will then be exemplified by a practice-based design research project exploring forms of patient democracy.