Defence in the field of Design: MA Bang Jeon Lee


MA Bang Jeon Lee will defend the dissertation Tangible Ideation. How to design for and with children? on Friday 30 August 2019.

Opponent: PhD Netta Iivari, University of Oulu

Custos: Prof. Sampsa Hyysalo

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The purpose of this research is to the communication and collaboration methods of adult designers (design practitioners) with children in the design process.  This research has been framed by experimental design research. Through its own experiments (design practices), the research has developed research questions and responses through an analysis built upon the findings from each practice. The practices have focused on furniture and spatial design; however, the key findings and recommendations of this research have been inclusively engineered for general design practitioners and researchers working with children.

During the empirical practices with children, I have attempted to explore the children’s position, the approaches and procedures, as well as the manners and tools supporting interaction and communication with children in the design process when designing for and with children. Based on these research questions, the objectives of this study are to understand the value of children’s participation in design, to position the designer’s role in designing for and with children, and to provide practical guidance for adult design practitioners and researchers working with children. This study ultimately aims to enhance the well-being of children through their participation and collaboration in both design and education.

I examine prominent research and design techniques associated with children in the literature review section. In juxtaposition to that, I describe relevant current research and position my research. Lozanovska and Xu have described children’s participation in design as five different models, and I have adopted three of these models: Design with children, Social scientist for children and Pedagogical models, which have inspired in the constructing of the framework of this research. These models have been applied to my own practice and resulted as three models of practice: Design for and with children, Social science for children and Tangible Ideation models. Based on investigations and findings through design practices applied with the models of practice, this research points out three principles: material matters; process and structure; as well as a framework within designing for and with children.

As the main findings, this research introduces the double triangles which describes the relations among practitioners, products and practices between designing for and designing with children as a new framework of designing for and with children. Using these triangles, materials have been redefined as a medium during different interactions with and through materials; in addition, the roles of various stakeholders have been positioned in this structure of Tangible Ideation practice.

My underlying argument begins with stakeholders’ roles and children’s participation in design, and then focuses on design practitioners’ reflective roles and position in design. Here I emphasise reflection and the practical contributions of this research, as well as provide considerable guidance for adult designers or researchers who work with children. This research has mainly focused on seven- to twelve-year-old primary school-aged children in Finnish and Korean contexts. However, this study also suggests research possibilities with both younger and older children as well as other cultural contexts in further research.


The dissertation notice and the published dissertation are placed for public display at Info point of  the building Väre (Otaniementie 14), 2nd floor, corridor leading to Fazer A Bloc restaurant, 7 days before the defence date.

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