University of Oulu

Netta Iivari and Marianne Kinnula. 2018. Empowering children through design and making: towards protagonist role adoption. In Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Full Papers - Volume 1 (PDC '18), Liesbeth Huybrechts, Maurizio Teli, Ann Light, Yanki Lee, Julia Garde, John Vines, Eva Brandt, Anne Marie Kanstrup, and Keld Bødker (Eds.), Vol. 1. ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 16, 12 pages. DOI:

Empowering children through design and making : towards protagonist role adoption

Saved in:
Author: Iivari, Netta1; Kinnula, Marianne1
Organizations: 1INTERACT Research Unit, University of Oulu , P.O. Box 3000 Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.5 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Association for Computing Machinery, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-12-03


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.

see all

ISBN: 978-1-4503-6371-6
Volume: 1
Article number: 16
DOI: 10.1145/3210586.3210600
Host publication: Proceedings of the 15th Participatory Design Conference: Full Papers - PDC '18. August 20-24, Hasselt and Genk, Belgium
Host publication editor: Huybrechts, Liesbeth
Teli, Maurizio
Light, Ann
Lee, Yanki
Garde, Julia
Vines, John
Brandt, Eva
Kanstrup, Anne Marie
Bødker, Keld
Conference: Participatory Design Conference
Type of Publication: A4 Article in conference proceedings
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Copyright information: © 2018 Copyright is held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM.