Associate Professor Stephen Reay

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  • PhD, University of Canterbury
  • M.Phil, Auckland University of Technology
  • M.For.Sc (Distinction), University of Canterbury
  • B.Sc, University of Canterbury


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 (2013-2018). It was 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 ( was a space to creatively challenge how we design and view health and wellbeing. This unique collaboration with the Auckland DHB aimed 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 Design for Health and Wellbeing research and education, 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, as part of AUT's Good Health Design.

If you are keen to leave your mark on the world and work with or be supervised by Steve or someone in the Good Health Design 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.

Research interests:

Design for Health + Wellbeing
Design and Innovation for Sustainability
Art + Design for Ecology

Fields of research:

  • Design Innovation
  • Industrial Design
  • Design Practice and Management Not Elsewhere Classified

Research outputs:

Journal articles

  • Water, T., Payam, S., Tokolahi, E., Reay, S., & Wrapson, J. (2020). Ethical and practical challenges of conducting art-based research with children/young people in the public space of a children's outpatient department. Journal of Child Health Care, 24(1), 33-45. doi:10.1177/1367493518807318

  • Nakarada-Kordic, I., Kayes, N., Reay, S., Wrapson, J., & Collier, G. (2020). Co-creating health: Navigating a design for health collaboration. Design for Health, 4(2), 213-230. doi:10.1080/24735132.2020.1800982

  • Ritchie, S. R., Rakhmanova, L., Out-O’Reilly, E., Reay, S., Thomas, M. G., & Sajtos, L. (2019). The use of a poster to reduce expectations to receive antibiotics for a common cold. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, 38(8), 1463-1469. doi:10.1007/s10096-019-03572-5

  • Xu, Y., Hamid, N., Shepherd, D., Kantono, K., Reay, S., Martinez, G., & Spence, C. (2019). Background soundscapes influence the perception of ice-cream as indexed by electrophysiological measures. Food Research International, 125, 108564. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2019.108564

  • Short, E. J., Reay, S. D., & Douglas, R. A. (2019). Designing wayfinding systems in healthcare: from exploratory prototyping to scalable solutions. Design for Health, 3(1), 180-193. doi:10.1080/24735132.2019.1575659

  • Cunningham, H., & Reay, S. (2019). Co-creating design for health in a city hospital: perceptions of value, opportunity and limitations from ‘Designing Together’ symposium. Design for Health, 3(1). doi:10.1080/24735132.2019.1575658

  • Parbhu, N., Reay, S., Landhuis, C., & Water, T. (2019). Differing perspectives: Evaluation of a new IV pole by children and adults. Journal of Child Health Care, 23(4), 551-563. doi:10.1177/1367493518819221

  • Godbold, R., Lees, A., & Reay, S. (2019). Ethical challenges for student design projects in health care settings in New Zealand. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 38(1), 182-192. doi:10.1111/jade.12170

  • Scheltema, E., Reay, S., & Piper, G. (2018). Visual representation of medical information: the importance of considering the end-user in the design of medical illustrations. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 41(1), 9-17. doi:10.1080/17453054.2018.1405724

  • Potter, E., Reay, S., & Thornhill, B. (2018). Communicating information in health: engaging students in design for health awareness. Design for Health, 2(2), 194-210. doi:10.1080/24735132.2018.1483595

  • Water, T., Wrapson, J., Reay, S., & Ford, K. (2018). Making space work: staff socio-spatial practices in a paediatric outpatient department. Health and Place, 50. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.01.007

  • Nakarada-Kordic, I., Patterson, N., Wrapson, J., & Reay, S. D. (2018). A systematic review of patient and caregiver experiences with a tracheostomy. The Patient - Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, 11(2). doi:10.1007/s40271-017-0277-1

  • Douglas, R., Reay, S., Munn, J., & Hayes, N. (2018). Prototyping an emotionally responsive hospital environment. Design for Health, 2(1), 89-106. doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1412689

  • Short, E. J., Reay, S., & Gilderdale, P. (2017). Wayfinding for health seeking: Exploring how hospital wayfinding can employ communication design to improve the outpatient experience. The Design Journal, 20(1). doi:10.1080/14606925.2017.1352767

  • 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). doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1294845

  • 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 : A journal for the Australian nursing profession, 53(4). doi:10.1080/10376178.2017.1339566

  • Thornhill, B., Potter, E., Nakarada-Kordic, I., & Reay, S. D. (2017). Designing clinical guidelines to support elective decision-making in emergency surgery. Information Design Journal, 23(3). doi:10.1075/idj.23.3.02tho

  • Nakarada-Kordic, I., Hayes, N., Reay, S. D., Corbet, C., & Chan, A. (2017). Co-designing for mental health: Creative methods to engage young people experiencing psychosis. Design for Health, 1(2). doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1386954

  • Dickson, C., Reay, S. D., Douglas, R., & Nakarada-Kordic, I. (2017). Co-design to understand the tracheostomy product experiences of long-term tracheostomy users. Design for Health, 1(2). doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1386440

  • Wrapson, J., Patterson, N., Nakarada-Kordic, I., & Reay, S. (2017). A life-changing event: Patients’ personal experiences of living with a long-term tracheostomy. Design for Health, 1(2). doi:10.1080/24735132.2017.1386432

  • 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, 13(4). doi:10.1080/15710882.2016.1160127

Creative works

  • Moran, B., Reay, S., & Johanson, J. (2020). Rad Rats: Experimental music performance by Vor_stellen (No. Of Pieces: 45mins performance) [Artefact]. Audio Foundation, 4 Poynton Terrace, Auckland: Fluid Borders exhibition, curator Wai Ching Chan. Retrieved from

  • Wilson, D., Kadalov, Y., Sheehan, M., Cowell, J., Khoo, C., & Reay, S. (2020). Family violence animation (No. Of Pieces: 1:00mins and 1:21 mins/2 animations) [Artefact].

  • Reay, S. D., Moran, B., & Waters, S. (2016). Particle and Wave [Artefact].

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

  • 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
    [Artefact]. Flying out. Retrieved from

  • Reay, S. D., Moran, B., McLaren, S., & Johanson, J. (2011). United State by "the Subliminals"
    on Various Artists
 “Tally Ho! Flying Nun's Greatest Bits”
    Performer and Composer of original material
    [Artefact]. Flying Nun Records. Retrieved from

  • Reay, S. D., & McCool, K. (2010). The Haints of Dean Hall "Sleeper"
    Performer and Composer of original material
    [Artefact]. Arch Hill Recordings Arch Hill Recordings. Retrieved from

  • Reay, S. D. (2006). The Haints of Dean Hall “The Haints of Dean Hall” album
    Composer and Performer of original material
    [Artefact]. Arch Hill Recordings. Retrieved from

Conference contributions

  • Reay, S., Craig, C., & Kayes, N. (2019). Unpacking two design for health living lab approaches for more effective interdisciplinary collaboration. In The Design Journal :An International Journal for All Aspects of Design Vol. 22 (pp. 387-400). Dundee. doi:10.1080/14606925.2019.1595427

  • 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.

  • 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 Proceedings of the 3rd European Conference on Design4Health (pp. 1-13). Sheffield.

  • Loy, J., Reay, S. D., & White, D. (2015). Raising our Game: Creating new learning experiences with research collaborations. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE15), Great Expectations: Design Teaching, Research & Enterprise, (pp. 562-567). Loughborough University.

  • Inder, S., & Reay, S. (2014). Practice-based and material focused: A craft approach to teaching design intuition. In DesignEd Asia Conference 2014. Action!-Doing Design Education - Proceedings (pp. 252-260). Hong Kong. Retrieved from

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