Designing with Children


This week we were excited to host Susanne Hofmann (die Baupiloten), Dan Morrish and Emily Charkin (Building for Families, Wilderness Wood) at our second event for dissemination of research findings. We spent this cold Winter's morning discussing their approaches to engaging children in design process, and after lunch our brave snow-defying audience got to try out the methods that Susanne, Dan and Emily use in their workshops with children. These hands-on sessions included exploring preferences for spatial atmospheres by creating dreamworld collages, and constructing a snow sledge from cardboard tubes.

For those who have missed the event, you are welcome to watch the talks and discussions at the following links:

- Rosie Parnell and Jo Birch: Introduction to the research project

- Susanne Hofmann: Atmosphere as participatory design strategy

- Emily Charkin and Dan Morrish: Involving all ages in the process of making a building

- Jo Birch: Early research findings

This full day seminar was organised in association with SSoA Children's Architecture Unit and the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, welcoming a wide array of audience from several universities, architectural design practices and Sheffield City Council.

Leave a comment


Follow-up discussion at Bristol event, Tuesday 13 January 2015


On Tuesday 13 January 2015 we were delighted to meet in Bristol Architecture Centre architects who participated in our research in what has been the first out of two dissemination events with a particular focus on findings from our case studies. Marianthi Liapi and Kostis Oungrinis (Transformable Intelligent Environments Laboratory, Technical University of Crete), and Barbara Kaucky (erectarchitecture) discussed their approaches to engaging children in design processes, within school and other contexts, and provided inspirational examples from their own practices.

On our part, we presented the case studies within our research project and the diverse methods used in these research contexts, ranging from field diaries to interviews and document analysis. Use of visual methods enabled us to capture designer-child communication and reflections on the co-creative process. What followed was a discussion of key insights emerging from the exploration of the dynamics and processes of co-creative design between children and architects in these four sites. The concepts of creative dialogue and togetherness were the umbrella themes enabling a more elaborate and process-focused exploration of designer-child interactions, involving, for example, turn taking and embodied dialogue. Though different in their ways of doing design and contributions into the creative process, designers’ and children’s cultures were seen to meet through respect and a sense of responsibility for one another.

Please follow the links to watch individual talks:

Dr Rosie Parnell: Introduction to the project

Dr Jo Birch: Case studies overview and research methods

Barbara Kaucky, erect architecture: Engaging children in architecture

Dr Kostis Oungrinis and Marianthi Liapi, TU Crete: Educational Pla(y)ces

Dr Maria Patsarika: Early Research Findings

All speakers: Plenary discussion and questions

We warmly thank Jodie Marks and Amy Harrison at the Bristol Architecture Centre for hosting the event and all our 32 participants – designers, teachers, play-workers – who defied the elements in this cold evening to join us! Your reflections, questions and interest to further your good practice shone through this event. And, of course, thank you Barbara, Marianthi and Kostis for coming over and sharing your experiences of engaging children in your work.

Next to come on Wednesday 21 January 2015 10:00 – 16:00, Sheffield, ICOSS building is the second part of our findings dissemination events. Susanne Hofmann (die Baupiloten) and Dan Morrish and Emily Charkin (Building for Families, Wilderness Wood) will discuss their approaches to engaging children in the design process and demonstrate methods and ideas that they use in workshop sessions.

This is a free event with required booking through

Leave a comment