The Matter of Origins Evaluation Study

Translating science for the general public through art/science/engagement collaborations

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange's The Matter of Origins is a multi-media, contemporary performance that explores the beginnings of the universe at the art/science/engagement interface. In Act One, audience members experience a vivid soundscape and contemporary intergenerational dance based on historical and contemporary understandings of physics. In Act Two, they adjourn to a nearby room to enjoy tea, cake, and dialogue punctuated by dance interruptions designed to stimulate further exploration of the nature of science, spiritual and scientific explanations of origins, and the limits of scientific measurement. Similar to Ferocious Beauty: Genome, The Matter of Origins is a creative work designed to translate science for general public audiences through contemporary dance.

Visit the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange website for more information about The Matter of Origins.

With funding from the National Science Foundation/Informal Science Education, this multi-site evaluation of The Matter of Origins examined changes in audience members' attitudes, interest, knowledge, behavior, and feelings throughout the performance. A mixed methods research design documented statistically significant changes in audience members overall and by specific demographic (age, gender, race/ethnicity) and background (science, dance/movement, information science education) variables. The findings outlined new methods for assessing the impact of informal science education and pointed to innovative ways to translate university-based knowledge about science through the arts to general public audiences.

Please contact Diane Doberneck at with questions, comments, or requests related to this study.

Evaluation reports will be available soon.

View the posters, presentations and more information for this study: