MA, PhD, FBCS, CEng, CITP
Professor David Arnold died suddenly on 25th October 2016.
David was the founder of the Cultural Informatics Research Group in 2002, and he remained its director until his retirement in Spring 2016.
David’s vision was of a multi- and inter-disciplinary research group which could provide academic research in support of the cultural heritage sector. Under his guidance, the group 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’s career spanned many realms. He was involved in over 45 years of research in the design of interactive computer graphics systems and their application in architecture, engineering, cartography, scientific visualisation and, over the past 18 years, in cultural heritage.
David was educated at the University of Cambridge and had an MA in Engineering and Computer Science and a PhD in Architecture. He subsequently spent 24 years at the University of East Anglia and 14 years at the University of Brighton.
At Brighton he was Dean of the Faculty of Management and Information Sciences and later the University’s Director of Research Initiatives and founding Dean of the Brighton Doctoral College, all whilst simultaneously being the inspiration behind and the Director of the Cultural Informatics Research Group.
But it was David’s impact on the cultural heritage community for which he was best known. David was co-ordinator of the EPOCH Network of Excellence under the EU’s Framework 6 programme (FP6), involving 95 partners. It was this project perhaps more than most that sealed David’s position as a leading light in the European digital heritage community.
More recently he coordinated 3D-COFORM, a large scale integrating research project under FP7. He also co-founded the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering for Arts, Heritage and Archaeology, a collaboration between UCL, Oxford and Brighton which will deliver 60 post-doctoral future leaders for Heritage Science.
He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage and was a past Chair of the European Association for Computer Graphics.
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.
He will be greatly missed.