Affective Dimensions of Participatory Design Research in Informal Learning Environments: Placemaking, Belonging, and Correspondence

Christian Ehret, Tyler S. Hollett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


This article argues that current approaches to participatory design research (PDR) risk eliding the affective life of making educational change by locating change in cultural mediation alone. Locating change only in mediation subordinates affect, potentially overlooking lived dimensions of learning and being essential to lasting, transformative change. Suggesting a pathway to recovering affect in PDR, the article critiques affect's occlusion in theories framing PDR and develops concepts of placemaking and belonging as affective dimensions essential to generating and sustaining change, especially in informal learning environments. Analytic snapshots illustrate these developed concepts, evincing how teenagers actively affect place and belonging over time in an informal digital media and learning program, Metro Building Blocks. The article concludes calling for developed theories of correspondence in order to better attune method to understanding how bodies generate feelings of belonging and to how bodies actively maintain this sense of belonging through emergent, affective practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-258
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Instruction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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