Fugitive knowledge: Performance pedagogies, legibility and the undercommons | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2049-3010
  • E-ISSN: 2049-3029



In Held, the criminal justice project I conducted at the University of Leeds with second-year theatre and performance students, performance pedagogies were structured to produce an ethnodrama. As part of the course, I developed partnerships with community-based partners Leeds Magistrates, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, and Ripon House. Students presented the performed ethnodrama to partners and invited guests. In this article, I examine how such performance-making enables students to interrogate their own understandings about the criminal justice system. In particular, they were asked to think about precarity and criminalization, and how institutions rely on authoritative readings of ex-prisoners’ records. I reflect on how higher education institutions produce knowledge. Throughout, I offer critical framing influenced by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s The Undercommons.


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