Peter Enser

Peter Enser
Information & Communication Technology

Peter Enser is an experienced enrichment speaker whose talks reflect his fascination with the transformations in society brought about by advances in communication, information and transport technologies. Contrasting the way we live today with our practices of yesteryear provides a rich source of material for his entertaining, informative and highly illustrated presentations.

The great majority of Peter’s career was spent in Higher Education, where teaching and academic management responsibilities in Plymouth, Aberystwyth and Brighton universities were developed alongside research interests in the field of experimental information retrieval. He gained an international reputation and publication record in semantic image retrieval, in which field he directed a number of funded research projects.

Peter is a past-President of the former Institute of Information Scientists and had an involvement with other professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, the British Computer Society, the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the UK Higher Education Quality Assurance Agency.

The title Professor of Information Science was conferred on him by the University of Brighton in 1999, and the title Professor Emeritus upon his retirement.


Peter’s talks take Communication as their common theme. They celebrate the ways we have adapted to technologies which have moved us forward via various empowering techniques, from scratching messages on stone towards our latest enthusiasms for blogging and tweeting on social media.

The talks outlined below focus on social rather than technical matters, and progress logically from one to another, but may be variously combined into programmes of the desired size, or orientation towards either human communication or transportation.


Getting the message: signs, symbols and senses

An introduction to the ways in which we communicate with each other, using signs to send messages which address the receiver’s sight, hearing and other senses, and symbols for the representation of more complex communications.

Post haste: on hoof and on high

An exploration of the way in which the carrying of our written and printed messages evolved, an early reliance on horse and wind power revolutionized by the harnessing of steam power, and transformed again by globe-shrinking aviation.

Down the wires

Barriers to communication posed by distance and intervening ocean crumble before wondrous advances in our ability to send messages by wire, firstly in the form of the telegraph, and then – requiring of us some new instant-communication behaviour - the telephone.

Riding the waves

This talk tells of how signals carried on radio waves, and later microwaves and light waves, brought new forms of communication into our homes via radio and television receivers, before our communication behaviour was transformed forever by our having a mobile telephone as a constant companion.

Surfing the net

A celebration of the union of information and communications technologies, among the products of which the Internet, and then the World Wide Web have given us a digital horn of such plenty that our experience of information gathering and dissemination has been totally transformed.

Going viral

The emergence of the Social Web, and our social media-fed dependency upon it in everyday life, provides the background to an exploration of the unprecedented opportunities and challenges we face, as we adapt to the new, technology-led social intercourse.

In the picture

The vast image and video content available to us on the Web, together with such attractions as selfies, emoji and video streaming, have encouraged our much greater use of image material in our communications – a development explored in this talk, alongside new approaches to computer-assisted searching for pictorial material.

ExpertiseSocial History of information, communication, transport technologies
Cruise Experience as Speaker/TutorRecent appointments: Saga Cruises: SA288, SA314, P2184; P&O Cruises: E601


History - Social