Empowering children through design and making: towards protagonist role adoption


  • Netta Iivari
  • Marianne Kinnula


Inviting children to adopt a Protagonist role regarding technology has recently become advocated. Such a role embraces the original political participatory design (PD) agenda and aims at empowerment of children through design and making. However, so far the literature is limited in exploring the adoption of this role by children. While studies have reported experiences of engaging children in design and making activities, in-depth inquiries on children's experiences and challenges involved are lacking. We also maintain that the PD community has so far neglected education of children - in participation, design and technology - as our task and duty. This study reports findings from a design and making project aiming at empowerment of children, carried out in school context. We show that adopting the Protagonist role is not easy and there is a lot of variety between children. We present children's experiences and reflect on the challenges involved in progressing towards Protagonist role adoption.

Full text at ACM





SESSION: Front, back and the roles in between