Associate Professor Stephen Reay

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Associate Professor/School of Art + Design, Co-director Design for Health and Wellbeing (DHW) Lab

Phone: +64 921 9999 ext 6719


Physical Address:
WM Building, Level 2
St Paul Street

Postal Address:

School of Art and Design
Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies
AUT University
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

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Links to relevant web pages:



PhD, MPhil, MForSc, BSc

Memberships and Affiliations:

Designers Institute of New Zealand

Research Areas:

Health + Wellbeing

Design and Innovation for Sustainability

Art + Design for Ecology 

Research Summary:

Steve Reay had a background in biology and ecology before returning to study design.   His main research interest explores the potential benefits of collaboration between design and other disciplines.  His most-well known project is the Design Health and Wellbeing lab at Auckland Hospital which launched in 2015. It is the world’s first collaboration between a university design school and a hospital, with a design studio - and won the top prize at the Best Awards-New Zealand’s foremost design awards.  The DHW Lab ( is a space to creatively challenge how we design and view health and wellbeing. This unique collaboration with the Auckland DHB aims to contribute creative and responsive design-led solutions to health environments, while providing real world opportunities to advance both applied and theoretical research into how design can be integrated within healthcare environments.

The idea for the lab came out of conversations with health professionals about what wasn’t working- and realising that design could help with some of those problems. Its work is also one of the few design niches which is likely to have an effect on everybody at some stage in their life- whether they are patients’, visitors or medical staff.

The two fields mesh well together as they are both people focused. Each problem also needs a multitude of disciplines to solve the problem. This means that all of the things that are great about this new lab are also the challenges.

Steve’s focus now is growing the lab with postgraduate students, academics and clinicians from a wide range of disciplines to develop a collaborative interdisciplinary network of design for health and wellbeing research.

If you are keen to leave your mark on the world and work with or be supervised by Steve or someone in the DHW Lab team, get in touch.

You can guarantee you will be involved with something that is challenging, interesting and collaborative every day with a focus on building a design culture which revolves around caring for each other.


Recent Journal articles

Water, T., Wrapson, J., Tokolahi, E., Payam, S., & Reay, S. (2017). Participatory art-based research with children to gain their perspectives on designing healthcare environments. Contemporary Nurse, 1-18. doi:10.1080/10376178.2017.1339566

Reay, S. D., Collier, G., Douglas, R., Hayes, N., Nakarada-Kordic, I., Nair, A., & Kennedy-Good, J. (2017). Prototyping collaborative relationships between design and healthcare experts: mapping the patient journey. Design for Health, 1(1), 65-79. doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1294845

Reay, S. D., Collier, G., Kennedy-Good, J., Old, A., Douglas, R., & Bill, A. (2016). Designing the future of healthcare together: prototyping a hospital co-design space. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts. doi:10.1080/15710882.2016.1160127

Reay, S. D., Glare, T. R., & Brownbridge, M. (2012). Hylastes ater (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) Affecting Pinus radiata Seedling Establishment in New Zealand. Psyche: Zeitschrift fuer Psychoanalyse und ihre Anwendungen. doi:10.1155/2012/590619

Withell, A. J., & Reay, S. (2012). From product design to design thinking: The establishment of a new product/industrial design programme in New Zealand.. Australian Journal of Industrial Design, 1(1), 27-37. Retrieved from

Recent Conferences

Kruse, J., Reay, S., Denton, A., & Bennett, G. (2016). Virtual MRI Experience for Children. In T. Marsh, & S. Göbel (Eds.), Serious Games - Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol. 9894 (pp. 260-263). Southbank, Brisbane, Australia: Springer Verlag (Germany). doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45841-0_26

Collier, G., Kayes, N., Hale, L. A., Norris, P., Peri, K., Babbage, D., . . . Hayes, N. (2016). Living well with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Designing an interactive online resource. In New Zealand Applied Neurosciences Conference Vol. Neuroepidemiology, 47 (pp. 132). Auckland, New Zealand. doi:10.1159/000453097

Reay, S. D., & Kennedy-Good, J. (2015). Co-Designing healthcare experiences: interdisciplinary collaboration between design and health. In Accelerating Continuous Improvement-7th Annual Ci forum Conference. Auckland, NZ.

Reay, S. D., Bill, A., Collier, G., & Kennedy-Good, J. (2015). Designing authentic learning experiences: Interdisciplinary collaboration between design and healthcare. In Building an Enabling Society. 2 Grey St, Wellington, NZ.

Loy, J., Reay, S. D., & White, D. (2015). Raising our Game: Creating new learning experiences with research collaborations. In Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise: 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education. Loughborough University, UK.

Reay, S. D., Collier, G., Bill, A., Kennedy-Good, J., & Old, A. (2015). Designing New Healthcare Experiences: prototyping a physical space that enables a design approach to improving patient experiences in hospital. In K. Christer (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Design4Health. Sheffield, UK.

Reay, S. D. (2015). The Importance of an ’In Situ’ Prototyping Design Space to Improve Patient Experiences. In Healthcare Congress- Delivering the Future, today.. Auckland, NZ.

Bill, A., Collier, G., & Reay, S. (2015). Making Things Happen: Experiments in prototyping from a Hospital Design Lab. In Virtuous Circle Summer Cumulus Conference. Milan.

Inder, S., & Reay, S. (2014). Practice-based and material focused: a craft approach to teaching design intuition. In T. Jachna, E. McLafferty, & S. Tzvetanova Yung (Eds.), DesignEd Asia Conference 2014. Action!-Doing Design Education (pp. 252-260). Hong Kong.

Reay, S. D., Inder, S., Bill, A., Charlton, N., & Zampollo, F. (2014). Crafting product design: Designing craft back into a Product design undergraduate degree programme. In T. Jachna, E. McLafferty, & S. Tzvetanova Yung (Eds.), DesignEd Asia Conference 2014. Action!-Doing Design Education (pp. 243-251). Hong Kong.

Recent Artworks/Artifacts (selected recent)

Reay, S. D., Moran, B., & Waters, S. (2016). avoid!avoid "particleandwave" LP. Original composition and audio recording Flying Nun Records FN563 [L.P. vinyl/digital audio recording. Flying Nun Records. released 1 April 2016

Reay, S. D., Moran, B., & Waters, S. (2015). avoid!avoid "low earth orbit" ep. Original composition and audio recording Flying Nun Records FN562 [digital audio recording]. Flying Nun Records.

Reay, S. D., Waters, S., & Moran, B. (2015). avoid!avoid - "Black Money"

Original composition and audio recording on Flying out Presents The Other's Way, A compilation 2014 [digital audio recording]. Flying out.

Current supervisions


2017- Nata Tolooei. Improving the Wellbeing and Experiences of Pregnant Woman with Disabilities: A New Approach to Design Thinking Using a Feminist Epistemology
2015- Helen Cunningham. “Strapping a hurricane to your face and trying to sleep”: Foucault, discourse analysis and design for sleep apnoea therapy interfaces.
2015- Guy Collier. Anthropology by Design: Rethinking Mild Cognitive Impairment

Masters students

2017- Cassie Khoo. Designing Together – Co-designing public health brands and online platforms with young people
2017- Taewoo Kang. Siting Wellbeing.
2017 Jewel Yan. Playscapes: Pure Ludens
2017-Scott Mackenzie. Auckland DHB operating room session planning system

Recent completed theses

Master of Art + Design

2017 Byron Thornhill. Clinical Guidelines: Designing for Accurate Decision-making.
2017 Antonio Wan. “Feel Chair” – Emotionally Resonant Aesthetic Experiences in Oncology.
2017 Charlotte Dickson. From Stigma to Silver Linings: Improving the Experiences of Long-term Tracheostomy Users Through Product Design.
2017 Glen Maxwell.  The Symphonic Guitar.
2017 Leona Wan. A uniform to welcome: Identity and Style through Design and Mix-method Pattern Cutting Approach.
2016 Eden Short. Wayfinding for health seeking: a design-led exploration of how wayfinding employing empathetic communication design can improve the hospital outpatient experience.
2016. Rebecca Jury Not for me without me: co-designing assistive technology with people affected by dementia.
2015 Mike Grobelny. Union Made: fostering entrepreneurial opportunities.
2015 Neerali Parbhu. Valuing the voices of children: a case study of involving children in the process of medical equipment design in the hospital environment.
2013 Nick Hayes. From the ground up: Redesigning Auckland Public Transport User Experience.

Recent Bachelor of Art + Design Honours

2016 Kolo Chen. Design for Tracheostomy Care.
2016 Kylie Sullivan. 3D Animation in Patient Education.
2016 Taewwo Kang. Light and physical memory.
2016 Olivia Labb. Space, safety, boobs and babies.
2016 Emma Scheltema. Modality in Medical Illustration - an Exploration of Representation in the Design of Medical Illustrations for Different Hospital Users.
2016 Anna Han. Convey day stay.
2015 Antonio Wan. The Little ones
2015 Emma McInnes. Promoting Sustainable Transport Options and Auckland City Hospital.
2015 Charlotte Dickson. Fractured Fiction.
2014 Lauren Hyland. Objectifying dignity.
2014 Josh Munn. Design innovation for stroke rehabilitation
2014 Isabelle Binz. The experience of waiting.
2013 Rebecca Jury. This is me.
2013 Neerali Parbhu. Paediatric hospital experience.
2013 Joel Ross. Sit/Stand
2013 Matt Davis. Second nature: design and conservation in New Zealand.
2013 Mandy Wong. Empower diabetes through design and technology


Best Awards

2015 Public Good. Purple pin and gold awards. DHWLab and AUT/Auckland DHB- Designing better healthcare experiences.

2015 Office and Work Place Environments (Spatial). DHWLab and AUT/Auckland DHB- Design for Health and Wellbeing lab.