Document Type


Publication Date



hile a science of design (and theory of learning) is certainly useful in design-based research, a participatory design research framework presents an opening for learning scientists to rethink design and learning as processes. Grounded in the autoethnographic investigation of a grassroots organization's design of a local campaign, the author traces the successive transformations of design artifacts, delineating a narrative character to design within grassroots spaces. One major lesson is that centering the question of participation is not just about including historically marginalized peoples at the core of design; it has the potential to “desettle” projects at a fundamental level, challenging dominant epistemologies that inform the practices of learning scientists, and thus transforming the field in ways that have yet to be systematically explored. More broadly, this study highlights the need for future research on design practices as they take form within understudied spaces, such as grassroots organizations.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Cognition & Instruction, volume 34, issue 3, in 2016, available online: It may differ slightly from the final version of record.

Peer Reviewed



Taylor & Francis



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.