Dr. Dawn Ellams
Research Assistant

Post-Doctoral Researcher: Trash-to-Cash 


Dawn is a researcher and designer whose interdisciplinary research focusses on the relationship between science and design in developing circular models for sustainability. Her PhD, supported by fibre manufacturer Lenzing and undertaken at Heriot-watt university was titled, ‘Environmentally conscious fashion through responsible coloration techniques applied to sustainable fabrics: colouring outside the lines’. The work focused on the life cycle relationship between fibre, colour and design. She explored material efficiency within technical and natural cycles investigating the potential and utilisation of by-products within industrial waste streams.


Dawn has collaborated with academia and industry in research projects exploring textiles within the circular economy and has taught at undergraduate and post-graduate levels covering topics relating to sustainable design.



Research Interests


Dawn’s current work is concerned with the use of design thinking to explore and communicate life cycle stories; developing interdisciplinary life cycle tools to create cyclical models for textiles. Central to her work is the idea of science/design collaboration in creating circularity for design, production, use and end-of-life applications. Dawn brings her research expertise in this area to the Trash-2-Cash project at TED, where a collaborative interdisciplinary approach is essential in developing design driven material innovation.



Current Research Projects



Key Expertise

  • Interdisciplinary Research & Practice, Cyclical Design, Design Thinking, Fashion & Textiles




  • Ellams, D., (2015). ‘Colouring Outside the Lines; A cyclical design approach to sustainable coloured fashion & textiles', Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities, Glasgow School of Art, 11th & 12th November
  • Ellams, D., Christie, R, M., Robertson, S., (2014) An Approach to Sustainable Coloration of Lyocell Fabrics by Screen Printing using Extracts of Leaves and Bark from Eucalyptus. Journal of Coloration Technology, Vol.130, issue 1, pages 48-53, February
  • Ellams, D., (2014). ‘Redesigning Denim to reduce the Environmental impact of Production’, TRANSITION: re-thinking textiles and surfaces, University of Huddersfield, 26th and 27th November
  • Ellams, D., Christie, R, M., Robertson, S., (2013) ‘Better than Beige: Sustainable Colour for Lyocell, Making Futures, Interfaces between Craft Knowledge and Design: New opportunities for social innovation and sustainable practice, Plymouth College of Art, 16th & 17th September
  • Ellams, D., Christie, R, M., Robertson, S., (2012) ‘Sustainable Colour for Lyocell through Design’ Textile Institute 88th World Conference, Malaysia, 15th to 17th May




  • Ellams, D., (2014) Learning from the past to inform the present: Traditional craft knowledge informing innovation in colouration for sustainability, presented at ‘World Craft Council’, Dongyang, China, 19th to 22nd October.
  • Ellams, D., (2014) Designing Circularity: Denim Case Study, presented at ‘Sustainable Clothing Training Event’ organised by Zero Waste Scotland & Made-by, The lighthouse, Glasgow, 25th September.





  • Ellams, D., (2015) Creativity in the Circular Economy, panel member, Gayfield, Edinburgh, 4th December.
  • Ellams, D., (2013) Sustainable fashion: textile innovation – The Guardian live chat, 10th May, 1-2pm





  • Ellams, D., (2015) To Sleep Lightly, Gayfield Creative Spaces, Edinburgh, 29th November – 5th December.
  • Ellams, D., (2014) Denim-less Denim, Edinburgh Science Festival, Techno Threads - the future of fashion, Surgeons Hall, Edinburgh, 19th April


Twitter: @dawnellams


Ellams Dawn

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