How might academic practices contribute to the exciting proliferation of economic experiments occurring worldwide in the current moment? In this paper we describe the work of a nascent research community of economic geographers and other scholars who are making the choice to bring marginalized, hidden and alternative economic activities to light in order to make them more real and more credible as objects of policy and activism. The diverse economies research program is, we argue, a performative ontological project that builds upon and draws forth a different kind of academic practice and subjectivity. Using contemporary examples, we illustrate the thinking practices of ontological reframing, re-reading for difference and cultivating creativity and we sketch out some of the productive lines of inquiry that emerge from an experimental, performative and ethical orientation to the world. The paper is accompanied by an electronic bibliography of diverse economies research with over 200 entries.