The roles of adult-participants in the back- and frontstage work of participatory design processes involving children

  • Katrien Dreessen
  • Selina Schepers


A vast body of literature is dedicated to the roles of designers and participants in Participatory Design (PD) processes and more specifically to the roles both fulfil in frontstage design activities. By describing 'Making Things!', a long-term PD process in which a collaboration with a local youth work organisation is set up to design workshops together with children and youth workers, we focus on the different roles adult-participants take on in the front- and backstage activities of these processes. Departing from an existing typology of the different roles (adult) participants fulfil in PD processes, we describe in detail the different roles of youth worker 'Abby' in the front- and backstage activities of 'Making Things!'. The case analysis showed a need in re-defining some roles or even defining new ones. Furthermore, the paper contributes to a growing interest for these backstage activities and the importance of relational agency and symbiotic agreements in PD processes1.

Full text at ACM

SESSION: Front, back and the roles in between