Yahşiworkshops #42 / Call for Participation

Child-Centered Design for Public Play Spaces in an Aegean Village

July 15-30, 2018

The Yahşibey Design Workshops have been organised in Dikili (Turkey) every year since 2006. During these 15-day workshops, 10 excellent design students from around the world work together on a common theme in a stimulating environment. In the 42nd workshop of this series, the design theme is ‘public play spaces’.

The act of play is a cross-cultural phenomenon in which most children partake in. Play helps children to make sense of their world, and fosters their physical, cognitive and social-emotional development. Here, we focus on how play is performed in the public space of an Aegean village, and how play can strengthen social relationships and spatial interactions within this environment.

For this workshop, students from different fields will be recruited, ranging from Interaction Design over Communication Design to Architecture. Guided by facilitators with a multidisciplinary background, the students will learn how to design for play from a child-centered perspective, and in close collaboration with the community.

The workshop has a triple aim:

  • To map out current play practices in the public space, identify design challenges and develop solutions.
  • To examine the potential of play in the public space for strengthening social relationships within the local community and spatial interactions with the physical environment.
  • To enable the local community to (re)consider the potential of the public space for play, and take action.

In pursuit of these aims, the envisioned learning benefits for participants are:

  • Gaining practical experience in child-centered design for play
  • Interpreting data from multiple sources, and visualising the results
  • Acquiring an in-depth understanding of children's play practices
  • Collaborating in an interdisciplinary and culturally diverse team


We are looking for highly motivated BA and MA students in Interaction Design, Architecture, Communication Design, Industrial Design, and any other relevant program. Candidates need to be fluent in English, and should have a keen interest in design research, child-centered design for play and teamwork. In total, 10 students will be selected. Candidates have to send their CV, portfolio, and an English motivation letter (max. 500 words) to yahsiworkshops42@gmail.com by the 15th of May.


Date: July 15-30, 2018

Place: Yahşibey, Dikili, Turkey

Submission deadline: May 15, 2018

Notification: May 23, 2018

Accommodation and registration are free. Travel expenses are not covered by the organisation.

More information about Yahşibey workshops: http://yahsiworkshops.com/en/about-yahsibey


  • Gökçe Elif Baykal is a PhD candidate and research assistant in the Design, Technology & Society Program at Koç University in Istanbul. Her research combines child-computer interaction and cognitive developmental field. She holds a BA in Sociology from Marmara University and an MA in Visual Arts from Sabancı University. She worked as a freelance screenwriter for TRT Çocuk (National Broadcasting Channel in Turkey for children) television series for children such as Nane ile Limon (Mint and Lemon) and Bulmaca Kulesi (Riddle Tower). She is a member of Happern (Interactive Information Design Research Group), and the Language and Cognition Lab at Koç University.

  • Cansu Oranç is a PhD candidate in Psychology at Koç University. She works as a research assistant at the Language and Communication Development Lab and volunteers as a researcher at the project L2TOR: Second Language Tutoring using Social Robots funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission. She holds a BA in Psychology from Bilkent University, and an MSc. in Behavioral Science from Radboud University Nijmegen. Her current research focuses on children’s learning processes across different media, including electronic picture books, robots, and augmented reality.

  • Doğa Çorlu is a PhD candidate in interaction design in Design, Technology and Society at Koç University and works as a research and teaching assistant in Happern Research Group. Her research focuses on mediating neurodiverse groups’ experiences in disabling situations. She volunteers for autism advocacy and designs services for autistic individuals across digital and public platforms. She holds a BA in Interaction Design from YTU, Turkey.

  • Maarten Van Mechelen is postdoctoral researcher at TU Delft specialized in the domain of Child-Computer Interaction. His current research focuses on early mastering of 21st Century Skills through Design-Based Learning. Maarten holds master degrees in Graphic Design and Cultural Studies, and a doctoral degree in Design Research (KU Leuven - UHasselt). In the past few years, Maarten has given lectures on designing for and with children at KU Leuven, TU Delft, The Royal College of Art and Design School Kolding. In addition, he is ACM SIGCHI Communication Ambassador, and co-chair of the Participatory Design Conference (2018) and the Interaction Design & Children Conference (2018, 2019).