Cardiff School of Art & Design>Staff>Professor Cathy Treadaway

Professor Cathy Treadaway

t: 02920 417014

Specialist Subject Areas

Creativity and creative practice
Creativity and wellbeing
Designing for dementia
Digital imaging and print technology


M.A. (Ceramics)
B.A. Hons. (Textiles and Fashion)


Cathy is Professor of Creative Practice and was one of the founding members of CARIAD. She is currently Principal Investigator on a major international interdisciplinary AHRC design research project: LAUGH (Ludic Artifacts Using Gesture and Haptics). This collaborative research is investigating ways of designing to support the wellbeing of people with late stage dementia.

Her PhD research investigated the ways in which digital imaging technology impacts on the creative practice of artists and designers; the theme of digital technology and creativity is continued in her current research which focuses on the importance of touch, physicality and lived experience.

Cathy is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, has a Master of Arts in ceramics (University of Wales) and a B.A. (Hons.) in textiles and fashion (Loughborough University). Her research interests have been stimulated by her considerable experience working as a designer for industry. She has expertise in large format digital ink-jet printing, three-dimensional printing (rapid prototyping) and is fluent in an array of design software applications. She is an experienced educator, PhD supervisor and examiner and has been a reviewer for RCUK, British Council and a number of academic journals and conferences.

Cathy has undertaken collaborative research with universities in the UK, USA and Australia and regularly presents her research at conferences around the world. Cathy is Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath and Visiting Scholar at University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Current Research

Cathy is Principal Investigator on the AHRC funded LAUGH project, which is a three-year international interdisciplinary design research collaboration with researchers at University of Technology Sydney and Birmingham City University. The project is partnered by Gwalia Cyf and supported by Age Cymru and the Alzheimer’s Society. The research investigates the development of design solutions that incorporate embedded electronics and smart materials in order to create personalised playful devices that amuse, distract, comfort, engage, bring joy, and promote ‘in the moment’ living for people with late stage dementia. This international research addresses the call by the World Health Organisation and the G8 nations for international collaboration in order to address the global challenge of the ageing population

Sensor e-Textiles
This research is supported by REIF and OPAN awards. It investigates innovative ways to support the wellbeing of people with dementia through the development of sensory e-textiles and ‘smart’ garments. The research aim is to design, prototype and evaluate sensory textiles that are embedded with smart technology in order to stimulate, amuse and engage people with late stage dementia. The work is informed by a research development group that includes older people, health professionals, carers, technologists and designers interested in scoping innovative ways of developing sensory e-textiles to be used in the care of people with late stage dementia.

Hand i Pockets
Hand i Pockets is a research methodology developed by Cathy in collaboration with Dr Gail Kenning (UTS Australia). It involves the use of creative craft activities with inclusive participatory research, to engage stakeholders and the general public with research themes related to dementia and ageing. Hand i Pocket Funshops are being held around the world in public community spaces, museums and residential care homes, in a cross generational approach, aspiring to make the research accessible and inclusive. Read more about this in: Hand i Pockets: Playfulness, fun and dementia. Kenning and Killick, Australian Journal of Dementia Care, Vol 4:2 April 2015

Making a Difference
This OPAN funded research builds on findings from Cathy’s previous ‘Permission to Play’ AHRC funded research with University of Strathclyde concerning playfulness, creativity and wellbeing in adult life. Ludic playfulness has been shown to support subjective wellbeing, encouraging living in the moment, absorption and providing new mental spaces that stimulate imaginative thinking. This research scopes the development of new craft based activities that incorporate emerging technologies, to promote open-ended, non-goal orientated play for people with late stage dementia. It has brought together a range of experts from the fields of healthcare, design and technology, in participatory design research.

Other previous research projects include: drawing and wellbeing, investigations using 2 and 3D digital print technology to explore sensory perception; crafting processes and hand use; collaborative creativity using digital technology. More information about Cathy’s previous research can be found on:

Principal Publications, Exhibitions and Awards

View Professor Treadaway’s papers and publications on Cardiff Metropolitan University’s DSpace repository.

Click here to download Professor Treadaway’s full list of publications, journal articles, exhibitions, book chapters, and awards (PDF).

• 2016 ‘LAUGH: designing to enhance positive emotion for people living with dementia,’ Treadaway, C., Kenning, G., Prytherch, D., & Fennell, J.
10th Design and Emotion Conference, Amsterdam, September 2016

• 2016 ‘Avenues, Values, and the Muse: An ethnographic study of creative activity to support the wellbeing of residents living with dementia in residential care.’ Coleman, S., Treadaway, C., & Loudon, G. (2016), 10th Design and Emotion Conference, Amsterdam, September 2016

• 2016 ‘Designing for wellbeing in late stage dementia.’ Treadaway, C., Fennell, J., Kenning, G., Prytherch, D., & Walters A. Proceedings of WELL-BEING 2016: Co-Creating Pathways to Well-Being, The Third International Conference Exploring the Multi-Dimensions of Well-Being, Birmingham City University, 5th- 6th September 2016

• 2016 ‘From Product to Process: Reframing design research methods to support well-being in the dementia care environment,’ Coleman, S., Treadaway, C., & Loudon, G. Proceedings of WELL-BEING 2016: Co-Creating Pathways to Well-Being, The Third International Conference Exploring the Multi-Dimensions of Well-Being, Birmingham City University, 5th- 6th September 2016

• 2016 ‘In the Moment: designing for late stage dementia’Treadaway, C., Prytherch, D., Kenning, G. & Fennell, J. in: P. Lloyd & E. Bohemia, eds., Proceedings of DRS2016: Design + Research + Society - Future-Focused Thinking, Volume 4, pp 1442-1457, DOI: 10.21606/drs.2016.107 ISSN 2398-3132 Design Research Society Conference 2016, Brighton, June 27-30

• 2016 ‘Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age: Printed Textiles’, Treadaway, C., Chapter 1 in Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age, Eds: Nimkulrat, N., Kane, F., Walton, K. Pub. Bloomsbury Academic

• 2016 ‘Sensor e-Textiles: person centered co-design for people with late stage dementia.’ Treadaway, C, & Kenning, G. Working with Older People Journal, Vol. 20 Issue 2 pp. 76 – 85

• 2015 Digital 3D Models of Heritage Artefacts: Towards a digital dream space.’ Younan, S and Treadaway, C. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, volume 2, issue 4, 2015, pp. 240 – 247

• 2015 ‘Sensor e-Textiles: Designing for persons with late stage dementia.’ Treadaway, C., Kenning, G., Coleman, S. Design4Health International Conference, Sheffield July 2015

• 2015 ‘Designing sensory e-textiles for dementia.’ Treadaway, C., Kenning, G., Coleman, S. (2015) Proceedings of the The Third International Conference on Design Creativity (3rd ICDC), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India, 12th-14th January 2015 Eds. Chakrabarti, Amaresh; Taura, Toshiharu; Nagai, Yukari ISBN: 978-1-904670-60-5 pp. 235-232

• 2014 ‘Designing for Positive emotion: ludic artefacts to support well-being for people with dementia.’ Treadaway, C., Kenning, G., Coleman, S. (2014). In: Juan Salamanca, Pieter Desmet, Andrés Burbano, et al. (eds) Colors of Care: 9th International Conference on Design and Emotion Bogota, Columbia: Design and Emotion Society; Universidad de Los Andes

• 2013 ‘ Walk and draw: a methodology to investigate subjective wellbeing’, Treadaway, C. and Prytherch, D, Wellbeing 2013 International Conference, Birmingham City University, 24-25th July 2013

• 2013 ‘Hidden Connections and Environmental Flows – how local walking interventions induce community positivity in urban locations.’ Prytherch D, Coles, R., Millman, Z., Treadaway, C. (2013) AHRC Connected Communities. Swindon: AHRC.

• 2013 ‘Permission to Play: taking play seriously in adulthood’. Rogerson R, Treadaway, C., Lorimer, H., Billington, J., Fyfe, H. (2013) AHRC Connected Communities. Swindon: AHRC.

• 2013 ‘Momentum’ exhibition, University Gallery, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield. November 2012 – February 2013

• 2012 ‘No time like the present’ Treadaway, C and Smith, K. 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity, Glasgow, UK, 18th-20th September 2012, Electronic Conference Proceedings Ed. Duffy, A, Nagai, Y. and Taura, T. Pub. The Design Society ISBN: 978-1-904670-40-7

Recent awards

• 2015 AHRC Standard Research Grant LAUGH project
• 2015 International SIP
• 2015 OPAN award
• 2014 REIF Sensory Textiles for People with Dementia
• 2014 Seed Funding ‘Dementia Aprons’ Cardiff Met
• 2014 Visiting Scholarship, University of Technology Sydney
• 2014 AHRC Design for Innovation Award (University of Strathclyde)
• 2013 Santander Scholarship
• 2013 International SIP
• 2013 Research Innovation Award (RIA) Cardiff Metropolitan University
• 2013 OPAN Funding
• 2013 CEWN Creative Exchange Network Wales, i-Magine research project
• 2013 Cardiff Metropolitan University seed fund i-Magine research project
• 2012 SIP Grwp Gwalia
• 2012 Seed Funding, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Making a Difference
• 2012 AHRC Connected Communities – Urban Flow (Birmingham City University)
• 2012 AHRC Connected Communities – Healthy Play (University of Strathclyde)
• 2010 Arts Council Wales International Opportunities Award
• 2010 NAN Go and See Bursary
• 2010 British Academy Award
• 2007/8 Arts and Humanities Research Council Award (London College of Fashion)
• 2007 National Science Foundation award

Enterprise Projects and/or Industrial links

Cathy has undertaken consultancy projects with a number of companies and agencies including the Crafts Council UK, the National Museum of Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Modules Taught

Supervision of Doctoral Research (titles or broad areas of investigation):
Creativity and creative practice
Designing for dementia
Creativity and wellbeing
Digital technology and creativity: human factors and interface design,
Craft and applied arts
Digital print technology
Hand use in creative processes