The University of Winnipeg



First Director of Cisco Innovation Centre named

Herbert Enns

Herbert Enns

WINNIPEG, MB – It was Winnipeg’s Marshall McLuhan, scholar and prophet of the information age, who coined the phrase “the global village” and predicted the coming of the Internet more than three decades ago.

Today, breakthroughs in communication technologies arrive with dizzying speed, allowing people to connect around the globe instantly. Understanding the potential of and harnessing and growing this power is the purpose of the newly created Cisco Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies at The University of Winnipeg, which today announced the appointment of Professor Herbert Enns as its first Director.

“The Cisco Innovation Centre will be developing the next generation of immersive digital environments, mixing content and narrative with cutting edge communication technologies that dissolve distance and create rich spaces of interaction and collaboration,” said Enns, an architect, artist and digital media expert. “We are inspired in our ever-more globally connected world to advance new communication philosophies as rapidly evolving technologies generate new possibilities for collaboration and exchange. Innovation in the Sciences, the Arts, and Industry is dependent upon communities of collaborative, creative and trans-disciplinary thinkers. With this new Centre at The University of Winnipeg, we are plugging into and engaging an international alliance of creative thinkers.”

Fibre Optic Hub

Professor Enns is seconded to UWinnipeg on a part-time basis effective January 2012 as Director of the Cisco Innovation Centre or Collaborative Technologies while remaining a Professor of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. He will lead the development of innovative forms of digital collaboration, scholarship, research, and creative works. Building upon Cisco’s TelePresence and other interactive and immersive technologies, the Centre’s mandate is to explore the collaborative potential of high-speed fibre optic networks.

“Manitoba has the potential to become a fibre optic hub, drawing ideas, research and new applications to our province,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “With the new Cisco Innovation Centre housed in our state-of-the-art Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex, UWinnipeg is uniquely positioned to play a pivotal role in developing the expertise and infrastructure necessary to become global collaborative technology leaders, benefiting industry and government partners as well as our students, researchers and faculty.”

TelePresence in action on UWinnipeg's campus

TelePresence in action on UWinnipeg’s campus

The University of Winnipeg is the only site in Canada with a Cisco Innovation Centre for Collaborative Technologies.

In 2010, Cisco donated two TelePresence virtual meeting systems to UWinnipeg, making it the first university in Canada with this advanced technology. One TelePresence system is inside UWinnipeg’s Faculty of Business and Economics at the Buhler Centre, with the second system being installed in the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex. The Cisco TelePresence system, which promotes energy conservation by reducing travel and delivering measurable energy savings, enables high-quality distance education and more effective collaboration with research sites in Manitoba and around the world.


Professor Enns is the Founding Director, Experimental Media Research Group (EMRG) at the University of Manitoba. He is Co-Chair (with Tomi Knuttila, University of Lapland) of the Arctic Digital Media Collaborative, a Thematic Network of the University of the Arctic. He has served as a member of the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) National Digital Media Technology Roadmap Expert Advisory Committee.

In June 2009, he organized the Future Media session for the B.Tween 09 Interactive Digital Media Forum at the Foundation for Art and Creative Technologies (FACT), in Liverpool, UK, co-presenting with Sheldon Brown, Director, Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, UCSD. Prof. Enns has lectured in Long Beach and Monterey for the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC). California’s education and research communities leverage their fibre optic networking resources under CENIC.

In 2011 Prof. Enns created exhibitions at the University of Texas at Austin; the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland; and for CLUSTER, Winnipeg’s own New Music and Integrated Arts Festival. These installations include experiments in spatial audio, an increasingly important component of convincing and perceptually rich networked environments. His video, NYC, supported a live performance of Metropolis by composer Gordon Fitzell on the opening night of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra’s 2011 New Music Festival.

In 2007, Prof. Enns represented Canada at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale. His multi media installation, Strange Places / Alien Spaces, documented Canada’s urban rivers. In the summer of 2009, he was a Visiting Artist at the Banff New Media Institute (BNMI) at the Banff Centre.

Prof. Enns is Chair of the Editorial Board of MOSAIC: A Journal For The Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, published at the University of Manitoba with Dr. Dawne McCance as Editor.

He is well known for his collaboration with Dr. Serena Keshavjee on the book Winnipeg Modernist Architecture: 1945 – 1975, now in its’ second printing, and is a Contributing Editor to Canadian Architect. Recent architectural projects explore pre fabrication techniques and sustainable architecture, including design commissions for the Q’uapelle Valley, Saskatchewan; Crow’s Nest Pass, Alberta; Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba; and Lake-of-the-Woods, Ontario.

Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: