He was also chair of programme committees for the Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Intelligent Cultural Heritage conferences, the Cultural Heritage Informatics Research Orientated Network, and coordinator of the Excellence in Processing Open Cultural Heritage Network.
Under his guidance, the CIRG developed into a vibrant inter-disciplinary community, holding major European research grants, collaborating with major national and international museums, archives, heritage agencies and businesses, hosting events, visitors and students from across the world, and celebrated in a major 10th anniversary event in 2014.
David took a lead role with the 3D COFORM project which is establishing 3D documentation as an effective mechanism for long term documentation of tangible cultural heritage. It gained him national recognition and David was the subject of reports and interviews on BBC Radio 4 The Today programme, BBC TV, ITV and The Sunday Telegraph.
The CIRG team paid the following tribute: “For those people fortunate enough to work with David as part of the Cultural Informatics team, this loss is that of both a fantastic leader and colleague, as well as a wonderfully supportive friend.
“With so many roles, David touched the lives of many in the university and well beyond, but it was his humanity that truly defined him. Compassion and warmth were always at the core of everything he did and, in his team, we all benefited from his amazing generosity, his huge sense of humour and his sheer kindness. David was an absolute gentleman, unstinting in nature, supportive, scrupulously fair and very caring.”
The University of Brighton’s Professor Andrew Lloyd, Dean of the College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, said: “I worked closely with David over the last 15 years. David was a true friend, colleague and mentor who was always willing to offer support and guidance to those with whom he worked across the university. Not only did he influence so much of the development of the university but continued to make major contributions to his research field nationally and internationally.”
The university’s Dr John Taylor, Head of the School of Computing Engineering & Mathematics, said: “David effortlessly combined human warmth and empathy with both senior management and exceptional international research leadership. He singlehandedly developed and led CIRG, a close knit group of university scholars with an international research profile whose reach went far beyond the academic community.
“The group was a part of an extraordinary European network of academic and cultural organisations that David was instrumental in creating. Alongside this, David led the Faculty of Management and Information Sciences comprising four schools with a wide range of academic interests. But his leadership was never remote; David always engaged with colleagues on a deeply personal level.”
And Professor David Anderson, Professor of Digital Humanities, on behalf of the CIRG, said: “With so many roles David touched the lives of many in the university. As a scientist, colleague and friend he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his wife Angela and his sons at this difficult time.”
Anyone wishing to pass on messages of condolence should contact Corinna Hattersley-Mitchell or Grainne Sinclair. Flowers and donations (for the Macmillan charity) can be sent to Haine and Son (Funeral Directors) 19 South Street, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4UJ. Telephone number 01323 727801.
Alternatively anyone wishing to leave a personal tribute or a message for David’s family can do so on the CIRG website: http://culturalinformatics.org.uk/.