animate: (adjective) alive, living, breathing, sentient, conscious

arts: (noun, plural) practised skills, as in ‘the art of living’


Animate Arts is an initiative of Sophia van Ruth, a freelancer with both Australian and Dutch nationality who is currently based in Adelaide, Australia. The main intention of Animate Arts is to bring people into embodied relationship with their world and to provide tools and support to live and work well together in a complex world.

Sophia works on various levels to achieve these aims:

Sophia offers shiatsu treatments and corporate seated massage to bring people literally back in contact with their bodies and support them in achieving wellbeing and balance. Click on the ‘shiatsu’ tab for more.

Sophia offers highly interactive workshops and trainings using play-based, arts-based and meditative methodologies to support people in gaining deeper insights into complex problems within their lives or work. Workshops often also include theoretical training on complex systems science. Click on the ‘navigating complexity’ tab for more.
With a strong background in community engagement, Sophia can also enrich a community engagement program with practices to help people tap their personal wisdom around the issues.
Finally, Sophia also offers InterPlay classes just for fun and personal wellbeing 
– click on the ‘InterPlay’ tab for more.

Sophia regularly attends conferences and participates in online peer groups as well as being a core member of a team of InterPlay leaders who organise an annual Leader’s Gathering multi-day residential event for the whole of Europe. She maintains a blog which you can access via the ‘blog’ tab above.

Short Biography:

Sophia van RuthI originally trained as an Interior Designer (but this is a profession I left behind many years ago). I began my career working with Urban Ecology Australia, an organisation dedicated to creating sustainable and vibrant urban environments. During this time I came to specialise in facilitating collaborative design and decision making processes and went on to work as a freelancer in this field in Australia for 10 years. Much of my work focused on facilitating community involvement in urban development projects.

I am also a qualified massage therapist and shiatsu practitioner. Shiatsu is a Japanese healing art based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This training transformed my ways of seeing the world, as the oriental healing arts take a more holistic approach. Shiatsu seeks to work with broader patterns of health and illness that include how a person is integrating into their environs. The attitude is to expand our view to see the full context and patterns for a person as opposed to the approach of narrowing our view to identify and eliminate specific symptoms only. 

website-graphics-story-longIn 2008 I completed the MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College, where I first learned about complex systems science. My thesis was focussed on how to provide appropriate education for a complex, ever-changing world. This topic has now become a primary focus of my work and I have developed a series of workshops to help people navigate complex situations with more ease and confidence. These highly interactive workshops offer a theoretical overview of complexity combined with a set of embodied practices to help you move from ‘systems thinking’ to ‘systems sensing’.  I use a lot of InterPlay in these workshops, a playful practice designed to help you access your ‘body wisdom’. I am a trained InterPlay facilitator and have been leading this practice since 2007.

Essentially I see all of my work as focussed on creating health, either on a personal, community or global level. I have always sought to facilitate healthy ways of being in whatever field I was working.