Researcher (Assistant Professor) in Computer Vision at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). Stuart's research focus is on Visual Reasoning to understand the layout of visual content from Iconography (e.g. Sketches) to 3D Scene understanding and their implications on methods of interaction. He is involved in the coordination and implementation of the MEMEX EU H2020 project for increasing social inclusion with Cultural Heritage. Stuart has previously held PostDoc positions at IIT, University College London (UCL) and the University of Surrey. Also at the University of Surrey Stuart was awarded his PhD. Stuart continues to hold an honorary position at UCL and UCL Digital Humanities and collaborates with researchers across universities and institutes, reviewing and organising workshops.

Employment History

  • 2019

    Researcher (Assist. Prof.) in Computer Vision December 2019 - December 2022

    Visual Geometry and Modelling Lab, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) Genova, Italy

    Exploring Visual Reasoning to bring higher-level reasoning and knowledge to answer the questions of society and scholars. Supporting our new MEMEX EU Project to achieve its goals.

  • 2019

    Researcher (Assist. Prof.) in Computer Vision and Machine Learning for Cultural Heritage January 2019 - November 2019

    Center for Cultural Heritage Technology, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) Venice, Italy

    Setting up a new centre for Cultural Heritage Technology

  • 2017

    Postdoctoral Researcher April 2017 - December 2018

    Visual Geometry and Modelling Lab, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) Genoa, Italy

    Working under Dr Alessio Del Bue

    Exploring Visual Question and Answering in relation to geometry for scene understanding. More to come about this project as it is published.

  • 2017

    Honorary Research Associate June 2017 - Present

    Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics - University College London London, UK

    Working under Prof. Tim Weyrich

    Continued work on Cultural Heritage Vision and Graphics applications.

  • 2015

    Research Associate Oct 2015 - Marcch 2017

    Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics - University College London London, UK

    Working under Prof. Tim Weyrich

    This project explores two different aspects of Digital Heritage analysis of artefacts and printed illustrations. Firstly the 3D reconstruction of artefacts, specifical bas-relief, provides challenges to traditionally computer vision methods. By utilising and developing new combinations of multiview photometric stereo and structure from motion we aim to reconstruct British Museum assets. Secondly exploring the analysis of illustrations of historical books provided by the British Library we develop an approach to segment sparse line structures with learnt shading styles.

  • 2013

    Research Fellow Aug 2013 - Sept 2015

    University of Surrey Guildford, UK

    Working under Dr John Collomosse

    An EPSRC funded project exploring the digital effect on key life transition points, through Social Media. The project required the development of algorithms for classification and clustering utilising both Image and Text. Additional explored data purification of large noisy social media datasets using Genetic Algorithms. As well as a structured manifold mapping techniques for presentation of user data through a 2D game interface.

  • 2010

    PhD Scholarship Apr 2010 - Septe 2013

    University of Surrey Guildford, UK

    Working under Dr John Collomosse

    Funding for research in to Visual Information Retrieval.

  • 2003

    IT Manager Dec 2003 - Present

    JCS Technology Weston-super-Mare, UK

    Working under Mr Michael Anthony

    Providing Computer Support for a Small Business. Demonstrated through Developing reliable systems with strong backup and recovery policies. Work at JCS Technology involved setting up servers and network infrastructure and support for a variety of platforms Window, Linux and bespoke platforms. The role provided the opportunity to work within a budget and make key decisions on the day to day operating of the business.


  • 2015

    PhD Visual Information Retrieval March 2015 Guildford, UK

    Visual Narratives Free-hand Sketch for Visual Search and Navigation of Video

    Media retrieval has been dominated by text-based queries utilising meta-data tags, but such queries are cumbersome to describe the appearance and in the case of video temporal information. We propose methods using sketch as an intuitive way to describe and search such media content. Sketch based Video retrieval has traditionally applied complex model fitting, in contrast, we explore representations suitable for index structure to achieve sublinear query time. Which also makes it possible to get the user in the loop through relevance feedback. Secondly, we propose Sketch based Human Pose Retrieval (SBHPR), a method of finding humans postures within videos using stickman depictions. Developing a manifold based retrieval method and learning a domain adaptation to improve precision on new videos. Finally, we extended the SBHPR method to a storyboard allowing a sequence of pose and action labels (run, jump) to be intertwined. This is demonstrated for video segment retrieval and synthesis of a new video, by extending the motion graph technique.

  • 2009

    hBSc Computer Science with Games Development February 2009 Hull, UK

    Dissertation - Fluid dynamics Simulation interacting with rigid body objects using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics based on Mullers algorithm. Other notable projects - Sony PSP Student Development Kit


  • 2019

    ICIAP 2019 Best student paper award for “re-OBJ:Jointly learning the foreground and background for object instance re-identification”

    Vaibhav Bansal, Stuart James, Alessio Del Bue

    Trento, Italy

  • 2018

    IPAS 2018 Best paper award for “Multi-view Aggregation for Color Naming with Shadow Detection and Removal”

    Mohamed Dahy Elkhouly, Stuart James, Alessio Del Bue

    Nice, France

  • 2011

    BMVA Summer School Poster Competition Runner Up

    Manchester, UK

  • 2006

    Imagine Cup 2006 Software Design Challenge UK Top 10


    Reading, UK

  • 2002

    Work Experience Award

    Worle School

    Weston-super-Mare, UK


  • 2019

    Comprendere gli archivi culturali digitali, dal passato al presente

    Stuart James

    Festival Costituzione: Cultura, Ricerca, Scientifica, E Tecnica | San Daniele, Italy

    La società crea continuamente archivi digitali tramite la digitalizzazione di vecchi contenuti o nuovi post nelle piattaforme “social”, dove il mezzo dominante è quello visuale, sia esso immagine o video. L’abilità di sfruttare vantaggiosamente questi archivi dipende dalla capacità delle macchine di filtrare, cercare e rappresentare la vasta quantità di dati utilizzando algoritmi di analisi. Questi algoritmi ci consentono di contemplare tutte le nostre attività in rete a un livello superiore, o addirittura ri-animare video di balli archiviati con nuove coreografie. Ora, entrando nell’era dell’Intelligenza artificiale, la nostra abilità di riflettere sui dati relativi alla cultura non potrà che aumentare.

  • 2018

    Inferring relationships and answering questions on 3D scene geometry.

    Stuart James

    University of Adelaide | Adelaide, Australia

    In this talk, we look at understanding the relationships between objects within a 3D scene. Firstly, we present our latest paper on using multi-view information to construct a scene graph of objects guided by the layout of ellipsoids. Our ellipsoid nodes coupled with object nodes act as proxies allowing relationships 'same-set', 'part-of', 'same-plane' and 'support' to be inferred by message passing over the graph. We build an architecture that can support such geometric nodes, object nodes and relational nodes merged using within an RNN framework. Secondly, we show how a question about the layout of a scene can be directly answered using RGBD. Using a depth branch guided by region proposals, inferred from the RGB, we show how encoding the relationships between regions provides the necessary support to improve answer prediction. We evaluate over new datasets designed for the VQA depth problem.

  • 2015

    Visual Narratives: Free-hand Sketch for Visual Search and Navigation of Video

    Stuart James

    University College London | London, UK

    Humans have an innate ability to communicate visually; the earliest forms of communication were cave drawings, and children can communicate visual descriptions of scenes through drawings well before they can write. Drawings and sketches offer an intuitive and efficient means for communicating visual concepts. Today, society faces a deluge of digital visual content driven by a surge in the generation of video on social media and the online availability of video archives. Mobile devices are emerging as the dominant platform for consuming this content, with Cisco predicting that by 2018 over 80% of mobile traffic will be video. Sketch offers a familiar and expressive modality for interacting with video on the touch-screens commonly present on such devices. This presentation contributes several new algorithms for searching and manipulating video using free-hand sketches. We propose the Visual Narrative (VN); a storyboarded sequence of one or more actions in the form of sketch that collectively describe an event. We show that VNs can be used to both efficiently search video repositories, and to synthesise video clips. First, we describe a sketch based video retrieval (SBVR) system that fuses multiple modalities (shape, colour, semantics, and motion) in order to find relevant video clips. An efficient multi-modal video descriptor is proposed enabling the search of hundreds of videos in milliseconds. This contrasts with prior SBVR that lacks an efficient index representation, and take minutes or hours to search similar datasets. This contribution not only makes SBVR practical at interactive speeds, but also enables user-refinement of results through relevance feedback to resolve sketch ambiguity, including the relative priority of the different VN modalities. Second, we present the first algorithm for sketch based pose retrieval. A pictographic representation (stick-men) is used to specify a desired human pose within the VN, and similar poses found within a video dataset. We use archival dance performance footage from the UK National Resource Centre for Dance (UK-NRCD), containing diverse examples of human pose. We investigate appropriate descriptors for sketch and video, and propose a novel manifold learning technique for mapping between the two descriptor spaces and so performing sketched pose retrieval. We show that domain adaptation can be applied to boost the performance of this system through a novel piece-wise feature-space warping technique. Third, we present a graph representation for VNs comprising multiple actions. We focus on the extension of our pose retrieval system to a sequence of poses interspersed with actions (e.g. jump, twirl). We show that our graph representation can be used for two applications: 1) to retrieve sequences of video comprising multiple actions; 2) to synthesise new video sequences by retrieving and concatenating video fragments from archival footage.

  • 2013

    Surrey Post Graduate Conference talk on ReEnact - Sketch based choreographic design for archive dance footage

    Stuart James

    University of Surrey | Surrey, Portugal

  • 2012

    Surrey Post Graduate Conference talk on Annotated Sketch

    Stuart James

    University of Surrey | Surrey, UK

  • IST Lisbon Using Semantics in Sketch based Video Sketch Retrieval

    Stuart James

    INESC-ID | Lisbon, Portugal


  • 2011

    BMVA/EPSRC Computer Vision Summer School 2011

    Stuart James

    University of Manchester | Manchester, UK

    Additional Honers - BMVA Summer School Poster Competition Runner Up Award