The Center for Generative Communication was born in December 2016 as the result of thirty years of experience in research and education carried out by the Centro Ricerche e Applicazione dell’Informatica all’Analisi dei Testi (C.R.A.I.A.T.), the Laboratorio di Strategie di Comunicazione Generativa and the Communication Strategies Lab (CSL) of the University of Florence.
The Communication Strategies Lab (CSL), founded and directed by Luca Toschi, was formed in 2006 within the Department of Sciences of Education and Cultural and Formative Processes of the University of Florence. In 2013 the CSL came under the Department of Political and Social Sciences.
The CSL was dedicated to research projects that respond to the needs of a territory in such a way to favor its socio-economic and cultural development. Through application of the generative communication paradigm, the CSL supported institutions, enterprises, and organizations in the conception and planning of internal and external communication strategies, thus contribution to an improvement of the production of those goods and services that they had to offer. The CSL trained dozens and dozens of professionals in the field of communication, as well as active researchers working in Italy and elsewhere.
The research carried out within the CSL (basic, experimental, and applied) was characterized by its interdisciplinary and inter-departmental approach. The synergy that the CSL favored among knowledge and diverse areas of expertise and the results achieved in its many different projects attest to the validity of the communication model, i.e. the generative model. Through this model the University has come into contact with real social problems, obtaining outstanding results.
From its beginning, the CSL was always and exclusively self-financed via its projects.
“Laboratorio di Strategie di Comunicazione Generativa”, founded and directed by Luca Toschi at the beginning of 2000, collects and passes on the experience acquired by the CRAIAT.
It was in the early part of this century that know-how developed through experimentation in the area of Digital Humanities began to receive investment and was further enriched by research directly involving stakeholders in the productive, social and institutional fabric. The aim of the Laboratory was in line initially with the mission of the CSL, and then later with that of the CfGC: to develop research collaborations to find value in and resolve the implicit and non-formalized needs of businesses, organizations, agencies and institutions.
A distinct research line was undertaken with the Laboratory of Generative Communication Strategies aimed at redefining the relationship between the world of research and production. It was only in 2011 in Italy that recognition was given to ANVUR with the term Third Mission, and it’s only been in recent years that attention has been directed in this regard within scientific and academic discourse.
In 1991 Luca Toschi gave life to the first professorship in Italy for “Italian and Computer Literature” at the School of Education, in collaboration with the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy, of the University of Florence. Exactly one year later, in 1992, he founded CRAIAT, thanks to an experimental project for digital publishing supported, both economically as well as physically, by the Fondazione IBM-Italia and IBM-SEMEA. The CRAIAT depended directly on the Centro Servizi Informatici Telematici e multimediali (Ce.S.I.T) of the University of Florence. From 1992 to 19915 the CRAIAT was present also at the University of Verona, in close collaboration with the Consorzio per gli Studi Universitari of Verona.
CRAIAT projects start from a specific way to interpret and carry out scientific research: a very advanced sort of technological research with the aim of directly and tangibly affecting the social and entrepreneurial fabric of a territory. In other words, basic and experimental research that utilizes the most innovative technology available applied to the most diverse of socio-economic contexts.
In approximately 10 years of activity, the CRAIAT has developed numerous projects with public and private, national and international partners, aligned with the various areas of research in which we find ourselves involved, and which are still today very active within the CfGC: territorial marketing, healthcare, agriculture, cooperative enterprises and culture, international cooperation, education and training, publishing and cross-media journalism, and digital humanities. Aside from the initial project made possible by IBM-SEMEA and the Fondazione IBM-Italia, the CRAIAT has continued to develop thanks to financing from its projects.