Jennie Schaeffer | Girona University | On April 10, 2018

The Institut de Ciències de l’Educació Josep Pallach in University of Girona kindly invited me to talk about the role of young children (3-5 years) in design and innovation processes. When I arrived, I was met by an enthusiastic group of teachers, academics and other professionals. There were 25 seats in the room but people were just coming and coming. New chairs were gathered and soon the room was completely full of people, laughter and discussion. First, I did a short presentation of the research project Norm-aware Pre-schools (2016–2019), a social innovation and design project with an overall aim to (re)innovate preschool premises from a norm-aware perspective regarding gender and play. The project is in line with “the norm-aware” turn in Swedish educational system, which means a greater focus in schools on using approaches that support equality, approaches which are not only related to education, but also to gender-related theories. The talk was then interlaced with interactive parts and the participants paired up and explored the question Whose perspectives are allowed when forming the pre-school architecture? from their experience. I presented the methods we used to involve children in the process (a combination of photography and storytelling) and the result of our study. Finally, the participants tried out photo-ethnography themselves and we had some minutes for discussion. I am really happy about the great interest for the subject!