Rosalind Smith & Mitchell Whitelaw

Early Modern Women’s Complaint Poetry Index, 2022


Mitchell Whitelaw (b.1972) is an academic, writer and maker with interests in digital design and culture, data practices, more-than-human worlds and digital collections. His work has appeared in journals including LeonardoDigital CreativityDigital Humanities Quarterly, and Senses and Society. Whitelaw’s work with institutions include the State Library of NSW, the State Library of Queensland, the National Archives and the National Gallery of Australia, where he develops generous interfaces to their digital collections. His current research investigates environmental and biodiversity visualisation, and digital design for a more-than-human world. Mitchell is currently Professor and Head of School, Art and Design at the Australian National University.

Professor Rosalind Smith is the Chair of English at the Australian National University and Director of the Centre for Early Modern Studies. Her primary research area focuses on the intersection of form, politics and history in early modern women’s writing, examining women’s participation in large formal categories in order to rewrite literary histories of genres (the sonnet), modes (complaint) and textual practices (marginalia), Her secondary research area focuses on true crime, specifically true crime in Australia and women and true crime in the English Renaissance.

This web interface is an outcome of a collaborative research project investigating women’s work in the genre of complaint poetry during the early modern period (1530-1680). This data, documenting 512 poems by 43 authors, shows women’s diverse engagement with complaint poetry, including the poetic forms and devices they used and the topics of their complaints. The interface visually celebrates this diversity, and makes it explorable. The research team, led by Rosalind Smith, included Sarah C. E. Ross, Michelle O’Callaghan and Jake Arthur. They worked with Mitchell Whitelaw to develop this interface.

Website: Early Modern Women’s Complaint Poetry Index

This work features in: SOAD Gallery (2023)