Designing for Inclusive Play: facilitating meaningful play between disabled and non-disabled children

Angharad Beckett worked with Ray Holt, Engineering on an innovative project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust until 2014, where sociology meets design to improve play amongst disabled and non-disabled children.


Design and Sociology are disciplines that rarely interact, but both share significant common concerns, particularly when it comes to matters of inclusivity and “designing out” exclusion. While some of the qualitative methods used in sociology are already a common part of studying user interactions with products, this paper argues that further benefits could be achieved through closer interaction between these disciplines. Design could learn much from the moral and reflective critiques applied by sociologists to their own work to identify assumptions and prejudices, while sociology can benefit from the creative impetus and codesign principles  adopted in design, particularly when it comes to working with and understanding children.

The paper concludes by describing the Together Through Play project which sets out to explore the benefits of bringing together sociology and design in studying the area of inclusive play between disabled and non-disabled children.