In this essay we share a musical performance ethnography, titled Under One Roof, as an example of one approach to critical arts-based research. The piece stems from commissioned research that took the form of an ethnography of an urban-supported housing scheme for people over 50 years of age. We discuss some tensions of conducting radical democratic performative work within a political climate characterized by the commodification of knowledge and marketization of science. This context provides a backdrop to subsequent reflections around performing praxis through a critical political and cultural engagement. Specifically, we consider how Under One Roof challenges dominant stories about homelessness, poverty, discrimination, alcohol and drug misuse, marginalization, and aging through privileging personal stories. We consider how students’ participation through readings of the script during lectures made it possible, in Henry A. Giroux’s terms, to “connect the practice of classroom teaching with important social problems.”1

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