Catalyst Seeding Programme


The DHW Lab co-directed by Steve Reay from AUT was recently awarded funding ($80,000) under the prestigious Catalyst Seeding programme (Royal Society of New Zealand).

This programme is aimed to facilitate new small and medium pre-research strategic partnerships with a view to developing full collaborations that could be supported through Catalyst: Strategic over time.  The application centered around developing the partnership the DHW lab has with Sheffield Hallam University’s Lab4Living, and AUT Centre for Person Centered Research and will explore design opportunities for people living with dementia in hospital and the community. 

In the first of several activities planned under the research, a small team, including Steve, Ivana and Reid will head up to Sheffield in September to work with the Lab4living, and participate in workshops with people living with dementia, their families and researchers.

This is an exciting opportunity for the lab to grow our international relationships with others working in design for health; we Look forward to sharing how this collaboration develops!

Multiple Sclerosis Guide Abroad

The MS co-design project supported by the DHW lab was recently presented at the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers Annual Meeting in Maryland, USA.

The banner that summarises the work was very well received at the conference, attracting a lot of attention which is hugely encouraging for project team. Out of 200+ posters, four awards were given and the MS Project banner won the Linda Morgante HOPE award for ‘innovations to impact patient care’. The event was a meeting attended by 2000+ MS Specialists: neurologists, nurse specialists, researchers and allied health so it was quite significant to receive this recognition! The judges described the project as ‘trail-blazing’ as nothing like this in the MS world currently exists.

It’s a great endorsement of the design work developed for the project banner and patient/GP relapse guides themselves.


Want to Intern with us?

The Design for Health and Wellbeing Lab is working to improve healthcare experiences through design. We are excited to have a small number of internships available during the mid semester break coming up in June.

This is an exciting opportunity available for students in AUT’s Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies to work with experienced designers on a number of hospital design projects. The key areas we are focusing on this year for our intern programme are:

_Way-Finding & Environmental graphics

_Web & App Developers from a Digital Design or Computer Programming discipline

If you are:

- A final year Design or Computer Programming student

- Completing your honours or doing postgraduate study

- Able to work independently and as part of a collaborative team

- Experienced in a range of digital platforms

We’d like to hear from you!

Please send a cover letter, CV and online portfolio to by the 31st May 2016.

Time: 1 to 2 weeks or longer (dependent on student)

If you have any further questions please contact us at


CHUR DHW LAB_You were sweet as


On my first day in Auckland, I ran from Central city all the way down to Onehunga weaving through future favourite spots including Mt. Eden and down by Tamaki drive. It turned out lot more complex of a route than I initially intended or anticipated, with a total of more than (an accidental) fifteen miles, but I emerged with both a sense of accomplishment, navigation of the city, and potential areas I wanted to explore more.

This first long run of Auckland can be used as a direct metaphor for my time here at the lab. What was initiated with a fear of the unknown, fear of the struggles of working in the hospital and the unforeseen obstacles quickly turned into an adventure I will never forget. Tasked with gaining a better understanding of the perception of the lab from outside stakeholders as well as a better sense of the opportunities for design-led innovation in the ADHB and healthcare in general, I had absolutely no clue what I would find, or if I would even enjoy the discovery process.

Before the project had started, I only had rote knowledge and a general sense (even general sense may be too generous) of what the lab actually was. Just as my mental map of the city developed and bloomed in detail during my run, my understanding of the purpose, function, and general positioning of the lab began to colour in as well. The further I ran, the more interviews I did, the more time I spent in the lab, the more confident I became that the process would not be futile, and could begin to push down around the boundaries of the shape of the city and my understanding of the lab.

Research aside, my time in the DHW lab has been invaluable. The space and environment that Justin and Steven have worked tirelessly to create is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been and offers unprecedented respite from the typical hospital environment. Physically beautiful, the lab is also a hub of exuberant energy and excitement because of the people within.


My desk is my own view from the top of Mt. Eden-- from the crate I use to make my desk taller, I can look down literally on Eden herself, slaving away at Wayfinding, while still finding the time to keep me up to date on the next indie brunch spot or join me to fuel my newfound addiction to long blacks. I have Byron, the gangster gentleman, to my right, who while juggling two jobs and his masters will still crack up whenever I look for comic relief and sends over rap music from the decades to keep me musically well educated. Further in the distance is hipster row of Josh and Nick-- who regularly wear matching outfits and enjoy scratching their chins while offering their unique opinions of the world. Nick in particular helped formulate my annoyingly pretentious coffee selection in Auckland as well as a comparison of burger places in both the states and auckland. A short jump away from hipster row is the corner of maturity, housing Anushka, who is actually responsible for the lab staying up and running, planning events, and making sure we get there, with perky personality complemented by a don’t-take-s**t that reminds me of my best friends back home in LA. Ivana also joins Anushka in the corner of responsibility, cooking up delicious treats and ways to encourage patient interaction and feedback. In direct line with the basketball hoop on the wall is arguably the go-to man of the lab, Reid. It is no coincidence that you can see him from any spot inside, as his cool attitude, thoughtfulness, and hard-working attitude serves as a daily reminder of what we are trying to do here. The other factor being a straight shot to the basketball hoop next to hipster row, for the occasional mid-afternoon shoot around, where the creatives assess their coordination skills to a varying degree of success.

It would be remiss not to mention the others working in the lab, on more of the North Shore side of the room, on equally important work prototyping and designing. The work done by students like Antonio has blown me away in terms of quality and his maturity handling exploratory work with an attitude of attack and personal drive. Olivia offers an example of how passion and curiosity is a beautiful contagion within the workplace. You would be lacking a full description if you could not also mention the beautiful illustration work done by Emma and the newbie Cassie blowing everyone away with her work ethic and skill. One of the coastal residents is Mal, who tirelessly works on finding support and driving projects forwards in incredible increments.


Finally, Steve and Justin, the sky towers of the view. These two band leaders, Steve literally so, cannot help but let their love and hope for the lab shine through their realism, internal battles of working in a large organisation, and working enough for a whole team alone. Without their full trust that I would not botch up these interviews, that I would acclimate to a new environment, and that my research would prove to be worth their gamble, there is no chance I would have had such a fulfilling experience.

These people, these little neighbourhoods of the lab, welcomed me from the instant I stepped in the door, and have become familiar havens during my journey. It is possible that I could have done the dry research itself without them, but it is impossible to even begin to imagine that I would have enjoyed it. The people in this lab, so driven to make their mark and change the complex experience of healthcare have defined my time in the DHW and are the main reason I want to return.

Just as at the end of long run on that first day, I am exhausted: I’ve seen almost too much to mentally digest. It will be good to take a step back and be able to fully appreciate my experience, but I know it won’t be long before I miss the place and people terribly.

Thank you so much for giving me the chance to be here and experience the enigmatic of the lab and people within-- I will not forget it.

Don’t be too gutted-- I’ll be back!





Eden Short was recently published in the second launch of Stemme that took place last week.  Stemme is known to be a space for dialogue and discussion and a new edition is launched annually. Stemme focuses on inspiring the formation of collectives and collaborations within the design community it strives to probe beyond established design disciplines, challenging current design discourse, and ultimately enriching it.

Eden’s article was a featured in the new edition of Stemme this year it illustrated the ideologies behind the lab. It demonstrates the importance of engaging staff, family , patients and visitors when it comes to designing meaningful and useful solutions within a hospital.

Eden highlights the value of the lab by saying in her article that “building on relationships and connecting projects streams, we are thinking about not only how the project will work well within the brief, but also how it fits into the diverse ecosystem that is Auckland DHB. We’re not just designing for problems in the present, but how they fit but our future hospital”.


Bittersweet end to the week!

This week at the Lab has been full on and extremely busy for everyone, there has been so much happening! 

On Monday our postgraduate students did a 3 minute presentation on the projects they are working on and the progress so far. The attendees to the event included a mix of AUT and ADHB staff. There was fantastic feedback from the groups that attended and was great to see all the projects together. 

It has been a bittersweet end of the week for us at the Lab. Today we say goodbye to Emme Jacob our amazing Graphic Designer!

Emme joined last year and has been a really valuable part of the team, contributing to a lot of great changes in the Lab.  While there have been many highlights some stand outs include Auckland DHB Values branding and retail pharmacy work done with Josh.  

Emme has tackled everything with real energy and enthusiasm. The Lab would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication.  Your energy and love for what you do will be missed by the team! 

We wish you all the very best in the UK and good luck completing your masters! As much as we will miss you here at the Lab, we know this is a great opportunity and we can't wait to hear about it! We are super excited for you and your new adventure!