At ISI, we believe that research and scholarship are not an end to themselves, but always have some kind of impact on society. A scholar’s virtues do not just rely on his/her ability to conduct research competently, but also on his/her attempt to “make a difference” for someone, somewhere. This way, research is not only good, but it also carries value.
ISI’s mission is to generate ideas, scholarship and results that mirror and pursue 4 research areas (which we call CATS) and 8 basic values (which we call PEACOCKS).
C is for COMMUNICATIONS: this area covers the various mechanisms of information production and sharing. It includes fields like semiotics, language studies, multimodality, intercultural communication, anthrozoology, etc.
A is for ARTS: this area covers the various fields of art research: musicology and musical semiotics (where ISI famously has a strong tradition), visual arts, digital arts, architecture, film and TV studies, performance studies, etc.
T is for TECHNOLOGIES: this areas covers the disciplines supporting progress, innovation and quality of life: Future studies, Media and new media studies, Sustainability, Digital humanities, etc.
S is for SOCIETIES: this area covers the fields investigating the various dynamics of human (and non human) communities: Social sciences, Peace studies, Soft power, Political sciences, etc.
The strength of semiotics lies in its nature as methodology/interface, rather than discipline per se. For this reason, some fields have ”imported” semiotic models (Multimodal studies, Cultural Studies, etc.), some other have an intrinsic semiotic ”spirit” (Future Studies have a theory of signals, Anthrozoology addresses problems of relation and mediation, etc.).
In short, semiotics contains in its very identity an interdisciplinary paradigm. Also for this reason, the four CATS are strongly interrelated (e.g., a field like music can be also studied in its impact on society, its communicative aspects, its use of technology, etc.)
P is for PASSION: that means commitment, engagement, doing things with love and ethusiasm.
E is for ETHICS: we seek to promote values of dignity and quality of life: tolerance, peace, equality, empathy, etc.
A is for APPLICATION: whatever we think or write, we always try to apply it to the real world.
C is for CREATIVITY: that means believing in and promoting imagination, art, ideas, vision.
O is for OPENNESS: ISI is an open-source and open-platform institute, devoted to diversity, inclusiveness and transparency.
C is for CURIOSITY: a scholar is not a scholar if s/he is not driven by a genuine desire to look around, learn and understand.
K is for KNOWLEDGE: that means information, communication, culture… Needless to say, this is what research is all about.
S is for SUSTAINABILITY: it stands for ecology, appropriate technologies, soberty, non-invasiveness and “economy” in its truest sense.