Judith van der Elst is an archaeologist and creative entrepreneur currently residing on the EU continent. She studied and worked in New Mexico from 1999-2012, and as an archaeologist with artistic sensitivity her studies in New Mexico included collected earth sensory data at Native American sites of survival and struggle millennia ago where cultural materials and traditions were initiated through land based knowledge systems. She seeks to understand the principles and practices that underpin impressive adaptations to the land. Based on a simple idea that the western mind can only partially encompass human knowledge, she believes that many of these principles and practices are unintelligible to the western mind with its focus on the visual sense at the expense of other sensory sources of information that make up our spatial worlds.
With a passion for teaching and learning in the land, she currently leads a semi-nomadic lifestyle to explore the possibility of new rural-based ‘laboratories.’ As a creative practitioner she has long been interested and has used emerging, spatial technologies such as GIS and remote sensing. Increasingly she focuses on near-surface/ambient sensing /biosensors- to expand our experiential and embodied learning and comprehension toolkit in order to access different worlds in our sphere. No longer just a personal desire, she believes a new way of doing research and practice focused on embodied knowledge is necessary to face our future challenges toward a just and healthy world.