PAMM as Text


Art holds a central role in the definition and perception of a community. This project will offer students a uniquely structured exploration of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). PAMM as Text is an interdisciplinary investigation of the people, art, architecture, culture and surrounding area PAMM. While providing certain required guidelines, the project is structured in an open manner that enables student participants to emphasize their respective disciplinary interests. It is the students’ mission to investigate, discover and document PAMM and its immediate surroundings.

Students will form 5 groups of 4 students.  Each group will be assigned two PAMM locations-one location inside the museum and one outside the museum.  During the course of one day, the student group must explore the people, art and location of their respective locations.

All students must wear an FIU shirt. We want to be clearly identifiable as a university group. Students must not speak to guards or interrupt guided tours.

The Honors College is interdisciplinary in nature and welcomes creative approaches to course projects. The form of the investigations and reflections can and should be varied: writing (both fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry), photography, video, and visual art. Students should gather information and impressions in the manner they wish. The nature of these can also be varied, as each student forms a unique perspective. The final product, however, must be posted on the Miami as Text Instagram account.

It is recommended each Miami as Text project make reference to place (where are you), specifics of your object or location, and your original reflection. Also, be creative with your photos. Do not simply submit a factual summary.

All post must start as the following example:
by @germanevy (German Etcheverry) of @fiuinstagram at @pammpics

The post must also include the following hashtags
#pamm #pammastext #miamiastext #miami #fiu

Projects will be posted on a social media public forum, which will enable the host institution to engage student perceptions. This provides students with the opportunity to engage in a community dialogue in regards to their work. This should not impact student perspective or analysis. Your professor and the host institutions are interested in a genuine experience and honest reflection.

All groups are to meet at the main entrance of the PAMM. Please be use caution, as the Frost Science Museum is under construction.

Group 1: Explore the area from the Metromover Museum Park stop to the PAMM entrance.

Group 2: Explore the gardens immediately surrounding PAMM.

Group 3:  Explore PAMM’s exterior architecture.

Group 4: Explore the waterfront walkway to the American Airlines Arena.

Group 5: Explore Museum Park.

The following are suggested questions participants may ask.  The inquiry should include, but not be limited, to these.  Research should focus only on the participants’ respective location. Participants should particularly reflect on the relationship between community, culture, and urban planning.

  • What did you know about PAMM before participating in PAMM as Text?
  • What do you perceive to be the demographics of PAMM visitors? Who is there and why? For how long?
  • Describe the people that work at PAMM.
  • Describe the urban planning and the influence it has on people.
  • Describe the architecture and the influence it has on people.
  • Describe the public art and the influence it has on people.
  • When is PAMM open to the public? What is the atmosphere after PAMM is closed?
  • What is the general ambiance of PAMM?
  • Why do people visit PAMM? Are the visitors local or do they come from other cities? How often do they come?
  • Do you feel safe walking around PAMM?
  • What is your experience?
  • Describe the art.
  • What is the art’s relationship to community?
  • Are your impressions similar to other members of your group? How and why are they similar? How are they different?
  • Are your impressions similar to other visitors to PAMM?
  • Do impressions differ on place of origin? Social class? Education?
  • What works at PAMM? What needs improvement?
  • Any other thoughts or impressions you have.
  • Will you return to PAMM? With whom?

Machonis, Peter A., ed. Shatter the Glassy Stare: Implementing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Birmingham, AL: NCHC, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9796659-2-9

“As an experiential-learning method, CAT makes students step outside their conventional classroom paradigms, and at no time is it easier to do this than when they are experiencing an alienation from what they know. Outside their ordinary habits of thought, the students respond to the call to figure things out for themselves, using the tools of mapping, listening, and observing.” – Joy Ochs

Excerpt from Shatter the Glassy Stare

Strategies: Mapping, Observing, Listening, Reflecting

City as Text™ methodology is based on the concept of active or experiential learning. Participants are split up into small groups with an assigned area of the city/place to explore. They report back for a general discussion at the end of their walkabout and exchange their insights with others who have explored other areas of the same city. The idea is that the sum of everyone’s experience is a better view than just one person or one group doing the same exercise.

There are four basic strategies used in these exercises: mapping, observing, listening, and reflecting.

Mapping: You will want to be able to construct, during and after your explorations, the primary kinds of buildings, points of interest, centers of activity, and transportation routes (by foot, vehicle, or other means). You will want to look for patterns of housing, “traffic” flow, and social activity that may not be apparent on any traditional “map.” Where do people go, how do they get there, and what do they do when they get there?

Observing: You will want to look carefully for the unexpected as well as the expected, for the familiar as well as the new. You will want to notice details of architecture, landscaping, social gathering, clothing, possessions, decoration, signage, and advertising.

Listening: You will want to talk to as many people as you can and to find out from them what matters to them in their daily lives, what they need, what they enjoy, what bothers them, what they appreciate. Strike up conversations everywhere you go. Ask about such matters as: how expensive it is to live there (dropping by a real estate agency could be enlightening), where to find a cheap meal (or a good one or an expensive one), what the local politics are (try to find a local newspaper), what the history of the place is, what the population is like (age, race, class, profession, etc.), what people do to have a good time. In other words, imagine that you are moving to that location and try to find out everything you would need to learn to survive there.

Reflecting: Throughout your explorations, keep in mind that the people you meet, the buildings in which they live and work, the forms of their recreation, their modes of transportation—everything that they are and do—are important components of the environment. They are part of an ecological niche. You want to discover their particular roles in this ecology: how they use it, contribute to it, damage or improve it, and change it. You want to discover not only how, but why they do what they do. Don’t settle for easy answers. Don’t assume you know the answers without doing serious research. Like all good researchers, make sure you are conscious of your own biases and that you investigate them as thoroughly as you investigate the culture you are studying.