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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Sarah M. Hughes

Hughes, S. M. (2016). Beyond intentionality: exploring creativity and resistance within a UK Immigration Removal Centre. Citizenship Studies 20(3-4): 427-443.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper considers the place of creativity within UK Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) as a way of developing understandings of resistance within these spaces. It draws upon empirical research undertaken within an IRC, to explore the role of improvised music-making between staff and detainees. This work arises out of a concern that framings of resistance within IRCs have been characterised by acts that intentionally challenge the particular manifestation of sovereign power within these sites, where non-citizens are incarcerated. This study interferes with the prevailing view that for an act to be considered resistance, it must be characterised by intent, and follows Foucault to argue that to resist something is to create something, as ‘inventive, as mobile’ as power itself. Consequently, this paper explores creativity as ‘poiesis’, drawing upon work by Agamben and Deleuze to explore the potentiality of improvised music within an IRC.