Pushing the Boundaries of Participatory Design with Children

  in Special Issue   Posted on January 12, 2021

Information for the Special Issue

Special Issue Call for Papers:

Introduction and Aims

Participatory Design (PD) with children allows children to contribute to, or have control over, the development of technologies for themselves and others like them. The children who are most often engaged in PD are affluent (Walsh, 2018), neurotypical, verbal (Wilson, Brereton, Ploderer & Sitbon, 2019) and abled children (Allsop, Holt, Levesley & Bhatka, 2010) of school age (Guha, Druin & Fails, 2013) in Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) countries, who historically have been able to attend PD sessions in-person (Constantin et al., 2020). There is a growing movement to widen inclusion in PD, with research involving groups such as: neurodiverse children (e.g. Wilson et al., 2019), children with disabilities (e.g. Allsop et al., 2010), culturally and linguistically diverse children (e.g. Antle & Bevans, 2012), and children from low socio-economic backgrounds (e.g. Walsh, 2018). However, this seldom occurs with mixed groups of children (i.e. children with a spread of different abilities and experiences) (Börjesson et al, 2015).

This special issue is intended to highlight research that “pushes the boundaries of PD”, whether that means involving children in and from a wider range of countries; working with children from cultural and linguistic minorities; working across larger spreads of socio-economic strata; working with neurodiverse children and children with disabilities; working with mixed groups of children; working with young children, or mixed-aged groups; working with indigenous children or children with immigrant or refugee backgrounds; or, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting inclusion through online and distributed PD.

Submissions are welcome from any and all researchers and practitioners who are interested in the inclusion of children with diverse experience and abilities in design. This includes (but is not limited to) attendees of the guest editors’ Pushing the Boundaries of Participatory Design Special Interest Group (SIG) and workshops throughout 2019 and 2020, who are invited to develop their position papers into longer, journal quality papers; or submit a paper on a new topic of relevance. We aim to gain an international perspective on these important issues, and encourage submissions from researchers all around the world.

The aim of this special issue is twofold:

  1. To examine research that supports the involvement of diverse populations of children in participatory design.
  2. To build on the Pushing the Boundaries of Participatory Design SIG at CHI 2019 (Constantin, 2019b), and workshop series run at IDC 2019 (Constantin, 2019a), INTERACT 2019 (Korte, 2019) and IDC 2020 (Constantin, 2020).


Contributions are invited on (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Descriptions of methods, tools or techniques that can be applied to support underrepresented children’s involvement in PD;
  • Studies that involved underrepresented children in PD;
  • Studies that utilised online or distributed PD with children;
  • Discussion papers on the ethics and issues of designing with underrepresented children in PD;
  • Methods and studies that involved mixed groups of children in PD;
  • PD challenges and strategies during periods of major disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Long-term, sustained PD;
  • PD as a mutual learning process (e.g. users learning how to promote their group interests); and
  • Managing diverse PD participants in a variety of roles, with attention to mitigating and minimising distractions, conflicts and tensions.

Submission Instructions

  1. We invite (optional) initial submissions of 300 word abstracts outlining the proposed article, including the basic argument and scope of the article. Abstracts should be submitted to the guest editors via the Journal website (https://www.evise.com/profile/#/IJCCI/login). Authors who submit abstracts will receive feedback on the suitability of their submissions.
  2. Full papers should be submitted for review via the Journal website (https://www.evise.com/profile/#/IJCCI/login).


Allsop, M., Holt, R., Levesley, M., & Bhakta, B. (2010). The engagement of children with disabilities in health-related technology design processes: Identifying methodology. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 5(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.3109/17483100903323267

Antle, A. N., & Bevans, A. (2012). Creative design: Exploring value propositions with urban Nepalese children. In A. Nijholt, T. Romão, & D. Reidsma (Eds.), Advances in Computer Entertainment (pp. 465–468). Kathmandu, Nepal: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-34292-9

Börjesson, P., Barendregt, W., Eriksson, E., & Torgersson, O. (2015). Designing technology for and with developmentally diverse children: a systematic literature review. In Proceedings of the 14th international conference on interaction design and children, 79-88.

Constantin, A., Alexandru, C. A., Korte, J., Wilson, C., Fails, J., Sim, G., Read, J., & Eriksson, E. (2021). Distributed Participatory Design: Addressing Challenges of a Global Pandemic. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, forthcoming.

Constantin, A., Korte, J., Fails, J. A., Alexandru, C. A., Dragomir, M., Pain, H., Good, J., Garzotto, F., Eriksson, E., & Waller, A. (2019). Expecting the unexpected in participatory design. Extended Abstracts of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290607.3311758

Constantin, A., Korte, J., Fails, J. A., Good, J., Alexandru, C. A., Dragomir, M., Pain, H., Hourcade, J. P., Eriksson, E., Waller, A., & Garzotto, F. (2019). Pushing the boundaries of participatory design with children with special needs. Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, 697–705. https://doi.org/10.1145/3311927.3325165

Constantin, A., Korte, J., Wilson, C., Alexandru, C. A., Good, J., Sim, G., Read, J., Fails, J. A., & Eriksson, E. (2020). Planning the world’s most inclusive PD project. Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Interaction Design and Children Conference: Extended Abstracts, 118–125. https://doi.org/10.1145/3397617.3398066

Guha, M. L., Druin, A., & Fails, J. A. (2013). Cooperative Inquiry revisited: Reflections of the past and guidelines for the future of intergenerational co-design. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 1(1), 14–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcci.2012.08.003

Korte, J., Constantin, A., Alexandru, C. A., Fails, J. A., Eriksson, E., Good, J., Pain, H., Hourcade, J. P., Garzotto, F., & Waller, A. (2019). Pushing the boundaries of participatory design. In D. Lamas, F. Loizides, L. Nacke, H. Petrie, M. Winckler, & P. Zaphiris (Eds.), Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2019 (Vol. 11749, pp. 747–753). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29390-1_74

Walsh, G. (2018). Towards equity and equality in American co-design: A case study. In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children, 434–440. https://doi.org/10.1145/3202185.3202768

Wilson, C., Brereton, M., Ploderer, B., & Sitbon, L. (2019). Co-Design Beyond Words: ‘Moments of Interaction’ with Minimally-Verbal Children on the Autism Spectrum. In Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’19), 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300251

Important Dates

  • 300 word abstracts: 28 February 2021 (Optional)
  • Feedback on abstracts: 14 March 2021 (if an abstract has been submitted)
  • Full papers due: 14 June 2021
  • Feedback on full papers: 14 August 2021
  • Full papers resubmission: 14 December 2021
  • Special issue publication: late 2021/early 2022

Guest Editors

Jessica Korte, The University of Queensland, Australia

Cara Wilson, University of Glasgow, UK

Gavin Sim, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Aurora Constantin, University of Edinburgh, UK

Eva Eriksson, Aarhus University, Denmark

Jerry Alan Fails, Boise State University, USA

Cristina Adriana Alexandru, University of Edinburgh, UK

Janet C. Read, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Other Special Issues on this journal

Closed Special Issues


Ethics in CCI

International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Wed 30 Sep 2020