New position at Durham University

18 Jul 2023 . category: research . Comments

As of 1st September 2023, I will be taking up a position as Assistant Professor in Visual Computing at Durham University working in the VIViD group. This marks a major transition for me, as I move from being a contract-based Assistant Professor (or Researcher RTDa in the Italian system) to a permanent member of staff (i.e. Lecturer).

As part of this transition, I’m looking for PhD students to join me in Durham. With an interest in Spatial Reasoning especially in the context of Cultural Heritage and the Arts. To give an idea of the work I’m interested in, I’ve included a brief description of my research interests below. If you are interested in working with me, please get in touch!

Research Focus: Bridging cultural analytics and knowledge graphs via neuro-symbolic reasoning

The ability of AI to provide assistive tools for the inspections and interrogation of humanities data at scale (i.e. distant reading) while preserving fine-grained analysis (i.e. close reading) relies on more than the information in the observation but linking it with the wealth of human experience and knowledge to deduce useful correlations. However, embedding such knowledge within Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools is challenging as it relies on building a complex representation of the meaning behind items or events. Such complex meaning is commonplace in the arts and cultural heritage, where the meaning behind an item (or its depicted content) is highly interlinked with culture and history. Overcoming the disconnect between visual content and knowledge would allow new and impactful insights, helping to shape the future directions of society. In addition, increased access to knowledge through question and answering and its visual equivalent.

Stuart James

Incoming Assistant Professor in Visual Computing at Durham University. External Scientist 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 currently a co-PI on the RePAIR EU FET, DCitizens EU Twinning, and BoSS EU Lighthouse. He was a co-PI on the MEMEX RIA EU H2020 project coordinated at IIT for increasing social inclusion with Cultural Heritage. Stuart has previously held a Researcher & PostDoc positions at IIT as well as PostDocs at University College London (UCL), and the University of Surrey. Also, at the University of Surrey, Stuart was awarded his PhD on visual information retrieval for sketches. Stuart holds an honorary position at UCL and UCL Digital Humanities and is an international collaborator of ITI/LARSyS. He also regularly organises Vision for Art (VISART) workshop and Humanities-orientated tutorials and was Program Chair at British Machine Conference (BMVC) 2021.