Image of the Royal Melbourne Hospital's tapestry, titled Research and Respond
25 November 2021
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The history and creators behind the RMH's tapestry 'Research and Respond'.

For more than 1000 years, tapestries have mashed together art and history to record some incredible stories.

It is no different here at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

It was 13 years ago this week - on 28 November 2008 - that the RMH tapestry entitled ‘Research and Respond’ was unveiled in the foyer of the RMH City Campus, as part of the organisation's 160th anniversary celebrations.

The 4m x 2m contemporary work interprets the history and values of the hospital and took four weavers seven months to make.

The project was a collaboration between the RMH, Victorian College of the Arts and the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, and made possible by support from the Yulgilbar Foundation, the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, Mrs Barbara Haynes and private philanthropic donations.

Merrin Eirth, the Head of Drawing at the Victorian College of the Arts, spent 12 weeks as artist-in-residence at the RMH engaging with patients, staff and visitors to create a tapestry reflecting the essence and spirit of the hospital, while emphasising its “culture of innovation, research and leadership” in the field of health.

“I was constantly reminded of the diversity of contributions made to RMH by its people. RMH is its people, and in the course of the day and night every role undertaken is important,” Merrin said.

The tapestry still hangs in the foyer, near the entrance to the Emergency Department.

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