from the left: Massimo Gerardo Carrese (fantasiologist), Letizia Casuccio (General Manager of Coop Culture), Paolo Giulierini (Director of MANN, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples),
Paolo Chiarolanza (Co-founder of SlideWorld and Director of the European Human Development Council)


What does it mean to practise the profession of fantasiologist?

Fantasiologist, in Italian "fantasiologo" is a word that already existed in the Italian language but, for the past 23 years, I have decided to decline it as the figure of a scholar. Basically, it is a scholar who analyses the scientific, humanistic, ludic and artistic aspects of three faculties which are, precisely, imagination, imagery and creativity. The fantasiologist studies, therefore, the technical aspects of imagination and does so in the field of fantasiology, which is also a word that has existed for many years, more precisely since 1760. I have been trying to spread this passion of mine for years in schools, universities, prisons and hospitals, in any social context, especially in education. (21 March 2024)


«I am a scholar of the scientific, humanistic, ludic and artistic aspects of imagination, imagery and creativity. My field of research is fantasiology (or phantasiology). I have been working on imagination, imagery and creativity since 2001. I'm a fantasiologist, that's my full time job. I work with universities, schools, associations, training institutes, bookshops, libraries, prisons, museums....Among the fantasiologist's tasks, there is one that most stimulates me and torments me at the same time: that of explaining that imagination and imagery are not activities related to the escape from reality (i.e. reverie, daydream), but faculties with historical and scientific characteristics that must be studied if we want to understand these faculties and their way of becoming concrete in the reality we live in.

Unfortunately, many people improvise on these subjects, but we cannot talk about imagination, imagery and creativity just from personal opinion or personal experience or just because you have read this or that book on the subject. There is an interdisciplinary study to be done, technical information to be unravelled and the study of imagination is a complex and contradictory study that begins in the fifth century BCE and involves authors from all places and disciplines, not just philosophers and artists.

Imagination, like imagery and creativity, is not a word to be filled with content at will but is a faculty with specific technical information. Its history is - wrongly - never taken into account by those who teach courses on imagination. I am not referring, of course, to the scrupulous scholar or to those who carry out meticulous bibliographical research before writing or speaking publicly about imagination.

It is this superficial writing or speaking that continues to reduce imagination, once again, to the mere moment of break, identifying it with the escape from reality, with daydreaming, with the construction of imaginary worlds, with mental appearance and abstraction, whereas it is a faculty linked to rationality, logic, concreteness, demonstration with a complex history and scientific characteristics on which we cannot improvise except at the cost of communicating inaccuracies.

This is the point: who will notice if a statement about imagination is wrong? We can easily understand that the statement "William Shakespeare wrote Pride and Prejudice" is false, and we can prove it, but on what documentation can we affirm the inconsistency of the statement "Imagination is a human faculty that creates imaginary worlds and it is the freest faculty of all"?

Imagination is competence and not improvisation. We can understand imagination not only from experience but also from its history. Both history and experience. Therefore we must also analyse imagination from an interdisciplinary point of view, first of all by deepening the technical differences between imagery, creativity and daydreaming. Like imagination, these abilities have their own characteristics. The work of the fantasiologist and of fantasiology consists in this critical study of imagination and imagery, daydreaming and creativity.»

Massimo Gerardo Carrese (2021)



(Italian version)


M. G. C. [Massimo Gerardo Carrese, ed.] has a typical name of expert and scholar name (thanks to the suffix -logo, of Greek origin), which concerns him directly. He defines himself as a phantasiologist, "scholar of stories and of the characteristics of imagination and imagery". It is a nice name, it has to be said [...] Since the activity of the phantasiologist is related to the idea of the game and, in particular, of the linguistic game, we can say that the name and the activity represent an amusing and intelligent glimmer in times of talkative and of often fatal actions. [...] 

From the online Treccani Encyclopedia, by the lexicographer Silverio Novelli

©2016 "Amare enigmi" - fantasiologic postcard by Massimo Gerardo Carrese

"Fantasiologist (or phantasiologist)": is this a word invented by Massimo Gerardo Carrese? No, but Massimo Gerardo Carrese conceived the professional figure of the phantasiologist: the scholar who analyses and studies the scientific, humanistic, playful and artistic aspects of imagination, imagery and creativity.

A little history
As early as 1987 the word "phantasiologist" had appeared in an interview in the Italian magazine "Panorama": «[...] edited by Gianni Guadalupi, a 'phantasiologist', as he has defined himself since he invented his speciality, that of the modern discoverer of exotic journeys [...] How did your passion for 'phantasiologist' begin? [...]."
A splendid activity, that of Guadalupi as a "modern discoverer of exotic journeys", but as Carrese later understood it, the figure of "the phantasiologist" is linked to that of the scholar who analyses the characteristics of imagination, imagery and creativity.

And today?
Today, the word "phantasiologist/fantasiologist" (many of the results refer to the Italian word "fantasiologo") appears on the Internet and in newspapers to indicate, in 99% of searches, the work of Massimo Gerardo Carrese.

What does a phantasiologist do?
Massimo Gerardo Carrese works in the field of phantasiology, the study of the scientific, humanistic, playful and artistic aspects of imagination (possibilities), imagery (mental images) and creativity (techniques and originality) [click here to learn more]. 

As a phantasiologist, he advises companies and promotes meetings, lessons and training courses for adults and children, in the social, university and school sectors. He publishes works on phantasiology and invents phantasiological games (linguistic, numeric, artistic).

Who is a phantasiologist useful to?
The professional figure of the phantasiologist is useful for everyone. As practised by Massimo Gerardo Carrese, it's a profession that focuses on the critical knowledge of imagination, imagery and creativity. Three faculties often degraded to mental activities close to vagueness, abstraction, unreasonableness, childish circumstances or exclusive practices of artists and "geniuses". In fact, there is much more to them than one might think. Unusual as it may seem, imagination, imagery and creativity have long been studied, from Plato to Bruno Munari, from Aristotle to Anna Abraham and beyond.

How to become a phantasiologist?

To put it bluntly, there is no school for becoming a "fantasiologist". One becomes a "fantasiologist" through long independent learning, but on the concrete basis of a history of φαντασία (5th century BCE) and creativity (20th century). Precisely because Massimo Gerardo Carrese's studies, games and research can be documented, his activity can be discussed intelligently and never with prejudice.


Massimo Gerardo Carrese calls his field of study "fantasiology or phantasiology". Carrese analyses the key words of phantasiology (perception, association, imagery, imagination, daydream, creativity, reality) around which his observations, games and research are concretised.

On the Google Italy search engine, there are over 2,500 for the keyword "phantasiologist" which specifically report on the activity of Massimo Gerardo Carrese.
Many of the foreign variants "phantasiologue" (French) and "fantasiologist" (English) refer to him, verifiable on Google engines in English, French, German....
However, the results obtained on the Internet (including foreign ones) for the Italian words "fantasiologia" and "fantasiologo" are not always consistent with the author's studies and research.
To find out more: you can visit the "Press review" archive (since 2006).


Massimo Gerardo Carrese -meeting/workshop on phantasiology (2016)  

to find out more




©2005-2024. Massimo Gerardo Carrese