‘The Phenomenological Film Collective: Introducing a cinematic-phenomenological research method for social advocacy filmmaking.” A 2019 article published in the Social and Personality Psychology Compass introduces PFCollective, our cinematic-phenomenological research method, and our theoretical roots of hermeneutic phenomenology and liberation psychology to the academic sphere. Click to view article.

pf collectiv article

“The Cinematic Chiasm: Evoking Societal Empathy through the Phenomenological Language of Film.” A 2015 paper in Janushead: Journal of Continental Philosophy, Literature, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts, uses Merleau-Ponty’s theory of the chiasm, and phenomenological film theory’s understandings of cinema, to encourage phenomenological researchers to consider disseminating their research through the language of film to evoke empathy among the public towards participants’ lived experiences. Click to view article.

cinematic chiasm


The Phenomenological Film Collective is indebted to the theoretical and methodological inspiration of the following theories/thinkers:

Performative Social Science Research

Performative Social Science Research is a domain of arts-based inquiry which invites qualitative researchers to consider “popularizing” our academic research through performative and artistic vehicles such as film, theatre, novels, short stories, music, etc, all of which can reach a wide public audience as a catalyst to social change. As narrative researchers, Kip Jones has pioneered this work through his film “Rufus Stone” based on the life stories of elderly gay men re-visiting their rural childhood upbringings; and Patricia Leavy has published young adult novels such as “Low Fat Love” based on qualitative research of adolescent women struggling with eating disorders.

Hermeneutic Phenomenology

Hermeneutic phenomenological research invites researchers to engage in knowledge-production by “going back to the things themselves” to discover insight about human experience–not through abstract conceptualization or theorizing, but by interpreting the essential meanings of people’s detailed descriptions of human experience as they have lived-through it directly. Phenomenology honors participants’ own subjective understandings of their human experience, by staying faithful to their own language on their own terms.  Max Van Manen and Merleau-Ponty promote hermeneutic phenomenology as an aesthetic and perceptual endeavor, which is essential to the methodological foundation of PFCollective.

Liberation Psychology

Liberation psychology is a theory and praxis of psychology introduced by Ignacio Martin-Baro in the 70s which seeks to raise critical consciousness (conscientização) about how the political impacts the psychological. Liberation psychologists employ the tools of our profession—research, psychotherapy, and education—in the service of social advocacy to combat the effects of sociopolitical oppression. Many of PFCollective’s films illuminate lived experiences of oppression in the service of sociopolitical liberation and transformation.