Workshop on Micro-phenomenology by Dr. Renée Ford

On March 23, Professor Renée Ford, a visiting scholar at RYI and postdoctoral fellow at Aarhus University in Denmark, conducted a workshop on micro-phenomenology, an interview technique that focuses on a short moment of sensorial and affective memory to gain insight into human experience. It is an important technique that anthropologists use in their study of religions.

Prof. Renee Ford started with a contemplation that tuned the 25 participants into the mental state of awareness and openness. She then gave a presentation and showed a documentary of micro-phenomenology interviews, conducted on people who explored in minute detail their physical and mental experiences when asked to spell the word “elephant.”

After a communal lunch at Café Malaya, the participants experimented themselves with this interview technique in groups of two or three, allowing the interviewers and interviewees to speak in their mother tongue.

The training was a welcome addition to the research methods at RYI. The Institute’s strength being textual and philosophical research, and the training in anthropological methods is very valuable. The micro-phenomenological method is especially apt for RYI since it demands meditative awareness of the participants so as to observe and express the experienced phenomena in minute detail.

Professor Renee Ford currently conducts interviews on her research project, “heart openings,” an exploration of the experience of openness and love in Buddhist practitioners.

If you are interested in participating or learning more, please contact her at


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