Modelling the Roles of Designers and Teaching Staff when Doing Participatory Design with Children in Special Education
Paper in proceedings, 2018

In this paper we focus on the relational work when doing PD with children in special education as a hybrid practice, meaning that the designer aims to perform design activities with children in their own environment. Based on the experiences of a three-year projectin a special education school, we first present a two-dimensionalmodel for ’who participates with whom in what’, describing the agency that the designer may need to both plan and execute design activities in relation to the teachers and the children. Thereafter, we relate those two dimensions to different kinds of authority that the designer might wish to have and avoid to have, and provide examples of the backstage work with children and teaching staff that may occur in order to gain the right kind of authority. Finally, we discuss the designer’s relational work to balance the differentkinds of authority and what may happen if there are mismatches between the different stakeholders’ expectations about authority. While we are aware that it is not possible for a designer to precisely foresee how their presence in a special education school will playout, this paper aims to provide a critical reflection on our participatory practices which may help other designers to be preparedfor the situations they may encounter in their own work in specialeducation schools.


hybrid practice

special education


participatory design



Peter Börjesson

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Interaction Design (Chalmers)

Wolmet Barendregt

Learning, Communication and IT

Eva Eriksson

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Interaction Design (Chalmers)

Olof Torgersson

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Interaction Design (Chalmers)

Mathilde M. Bekker

helle marie skovbjerg

Proceedings of PDC'18

PArticipatory design conference 2018 (PDC'18)
Hasselt, Belgium,

Areas of Advance

Information and Communication Technology

Subject Categories

Computer and Information Science





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