The "least-Adult" role in participatory design with children
Paper in proceedings, 2019

Child participation in design is a central focus of Child Computer Interaction (CCI) research, however, examples of participatory research with children are primarily situated in adult-led contexts (e.g. design lab, classroom, museum) where design objectives, activities and tools are devised and facilitated by adults. In this paper, we contribute to current discussions by describing a participatory study situated within the "child-led nature-play contexts" of nine children (7-11 years). By adapting the role of "least-Adult" originally described in the childhood studies literature, we describe how this role can be established to access these exclusive play places and maintained through co-inquiry into each child's unique play practice. This research contributes to current discussions of child participation in CCI by (i) introducing the role of least-Adult as an approach to engaging with children through participatory research, (ii) recognising the influence of place in shaping child participation, and (iii) pointing to spatial-Temporal contextual factors as an important factor for enabling and shaping participatory research.


Participatory design



Least-Adult role


Bronwyn J. Cumbo

Monash University

Eva Eriksson

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

Aarhus University

Ole Sejer Iversen

Aarhus University

ACM International Conference Proceeding Series


31st Australian Conference on Human-Computer-Interaction, OzCHI 2019
Perth/Fremantle, Australia,

Subject Categories


Interaction Technologies

Human Aspects of ICT



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