Sophia van Ruth

At its core, Sophia’s work is about helping people navigate complexity with more ease and confidence. She combines her knowledge of complex systems with holistic practices from the discipline of shiatsu and the creative, embodied arts.

Whilst studying complex systems science Sophia came to realise that her practice of improvised arts such as InterPlay was not only helping her understand the theory around complexity better (as she was interacting directly in complex, improvised dynamics), but was also helping her to access embodied wisdom that gave her unique insights in complex situations that she was unable to get using reason alone.

Whilst my background may seem diverse, every step has led to the work I do now: helping people address complex issues through embodied practices. Our bodies are rich storehouses of unconscious knowings, which can handle the nuances and dynamic inter-relationships of complexity much better.”

Sophia has an MSc in Holistic Science, is a qualified shiatsu therapist and a certified InterPlay leader (a practice working with improvised movement, voice and story). She worked for 10 years in the field of community engagement in Sydney, including working on the award winning Bonnyrigg Living Communities Project. She then went on to  run her own business for 12 years in the Netherlands and is now based in Adelaide, Australia. Sophia is a life member of Urban Ecology Australia and has also served on their board. She regularly attends conferences and conducts her own research in the fields of complexity, embodiment, playfulness and arts-based practices. You can catch snippets of the fruits of this research on her blog or in the chapter she wrote for the book “The Phenomenology of Grace”. In her free time she is a snorkeler, dancer, painter & drawer, violin student and writer.

There was a moment in my career where I realised that the red thread that defines my work is a commitment to a healthier and more just world. I have also come to believe that healthy societies will be the ones who have deepened their understanding of the stunning complexity of our living planet and learned to work with it rather than in spite of it.”

I am in awe of and constantly inspired by this wild and beautiful life. I bring this sense of wonder to this work. We’re at a critical point in our evolution when we’re being asked to step up and partner for the future of life on our planet. I know it seems a grand claim, but I feel we can be enlivened by this call. We need to deepen self-awareness and engage in powerful collaborations if life is to thrive.