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Fed Folk

Virtual Arts and Culture

Stories from the people who work, walk and play at Fed Square

Have you ever wondered what stories lie under the surface of Fed Square? Who the people are that you walk past and what’s going on in their lives? Well, we’ve got a fun new segment for you: Fed Folk. Each week, we’ll catch up with a person who works, walks or plays here at Fed Square. It could be a journalist from SBS or a curator from the Koori Heritage Trust or someone who eats their lunch here every day – it could be you! So, watch out for us in the Square, as we’ll be on the lookout!

And if you’ve got a story to tell, tag us on Instagram with #FedFolk and we may be in touch!

Meet Loz, Fed Square Public Programming Producer and Harry Potter superfan (like: permanently inked-level superfan)

Lauren shows off her Deathly Hallows tatt at Fed Square.

In the lead-up to the 20th Anniversary of the film release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and the Christmas in the Wizarding World celebrations at Fed Square on December 7, we caught up with Loz, who is producing the event.

We were keen to find out what is being cooked up in the cauldron for the day, and what it’s like for her working on a dream project like this one.

Hey Loz, tell us a bit about your job and what you do.

I am one of the Public Programming Producers (PPP!) You might remember me from the organising of such events as, Christmas Square, May The 4th Be With You, the Australian Open Live Site, the African Music and Cultural Festival and more. In short: I am lucky enough to both work as an event producing partner, alongside external Fed Square clients, and also create Fed Square-run events that are free to the public.

And we hear you’re a bit of a Harry Potter fan. On a scale of 1-10, how super a superfan are you?

If I’m not allowed to go over the scale of 10… then I guess it is 10 x infinity. Some highlights of my Harry Potter journey thus far would be:

  • Travelling the USA and flying to Orlando for one day, just to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. On the way back I was pulled aside by airport security and asked if I had batons in my carry on … Nope that would just be Dumbledore and Voldemort’s wands … A few laughs were had by all, including security.
  • Flying to Sydney for the Harry Potter Exhibition (as it was not coming to Melbourne). It is here that with a crazy amount of insane joy, three friends and I decided to confirm our dedication to HP with a Deathly Hallows tattoo.
  • Queuing online for tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in a pool of sweat as I was 1868 in line. Only to find out my friend was 22,000. We were lucky and got tickets for the first weekend! It. Was. INCREDIBLE! Would love to go again.

How does it feel now being the PPP for Christmas in the Wizarding World at Fed Square?

I think I could probably retire after this event and be happy – ha ha! I am also trying to maintain my professional bravado, but it may be slipping out of sheer excitement …

What can people expect for the celebrations?

Not only will there be a special edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to watch on the Big Screen, there will be a performance by the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, free ice cream, plenty of prizes to be won and many a giveaway just for attending! Definitely dress up in your best wizarding attire. It could win you a prize too! Can you tell I’m excited?

Which house are you in?

Look, the first time I was sorted it was into Hufflepuff however I did want to be in Ravenclaw. Then I managed to be sorted into Ravenclaw second time round. But it felt like I was cheating. Hufflepuff is my home.

Favourite Harry Potter character?

Controversial, but it is Severus Snape. He has such a profound background that is essential to the story. Always.

What are you most looking forward to for the celebrations?

All of it?! Well, it will pretty special to see the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child perform live in the Square! To think that it has been 20 years since the films came into our lives and that they continue to be such a magical world for so many is amazing. I still remember when I first saw Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the cinema. Goosebumps.

See all you witches and wizards on 7 December! Mischief managed.

Meet Arun Sharma, Diwali Chairman and Festival Coordinator

Seventeen years ago, on a picturesque walk through a very young Fed Square, Arun Sharma’s wife Jaya sewed the first seeds of an idea that would develop into the Victorian Festival of Diwali at Fed Square. From its early years, it has grown into a festival where upwards of 60,000 people come together to celebrate Indian culture. While things have changed a little bit during COVID-times, the Victorian Festival of Diwali has managed to keep shining a light into people’s homes around the world, thanks to Arun and the team at Celebrate India. For this week’s Fed Folk, we caught up with Arun to find out more about how it all started – and what you can look forward to this Diwali.

The Ghost of Fed Square

Do you believe in ghosts? We’d heard whispers of a Fed Square ghost story and so of course we had to get to the bottom of it.

For our Fed Folk Halloween edition, we chased up the story with Nick, one of our security guards, who experienced the spine-tingling brush with the otherworldly while on duty one night.

It was a dark (and probably not stormy) night …

Meet Ellora, the fount of all Fed Square knowledge

Ellora Keeley, Fed Square event operations supervisor, Fed Square, September, 2021.

When you have a heritage-listed public square that’s not a square, that’s built over a train line, covered in undulating cobblestones and hosts thousands of events a year (in normal times), you want to have an events operations person that knows their stuff, right? Well, that’s Ellora. With an in-built mental data map of the whole site and the keys to the place, Ellora is one of a team of event operations staff that make things happen at Fed Square. We talked to her this week about what her job is like, what she’s been doing in lockdown – and about making friends with a duck at Sky Castle last year.

Meet Suranjan Kakshapti, who keeps Fed Square safe and squeaky clean!

Ever wonder why Fed Square always looks so fresh? Well, that’s thanks to Suranjan and the team of Fed Square cleaners that work hard to keep everything looking ship shape, clean and even more importantly since Covid-times – safe and sanitised. We caught up with Suranjan this week to find out more about his job, playing guitar to get by in lockdown – and what he’s looking forward to when we’re all back at the Square.

Meet Sarah Raftis, Fed Square’s creative mastermind

If you’ve ever met Sarah, you won’t forget her. She’s a dynamic creative that works like a hurricane: zooming around with ideas, picking up inspiration, churning it up and creating the amazing programming that you see at each year at Fed Square. Anything cool you’ve experienced at Fed Square: that’s because of Sarah. Anything you didn’t like? You can blame Sarah. Lol. Well, as she says herself, it can be a challenge working to satisfy everyone, but if anyone is up to the challenge: it’s her.

We caught up with her to find out what life being Sarah is like and how Covid-19 has thrown a few spanners in the works over the last 18 months.

Image: Sarah Raftis (left, in mask, at Sky Castle in 2020 at Fed Square) does not like having her picture taken, so this is what she sent us. We think it’s because she likes to maintain a secret identity, like Batman.

Meet Owen Crawford: the eyes and ears of Fed Square

We would like to introduce you one of our dearest treasures, Owen Crawford: the head of Fed Square’s on-site security team. He’s the guy that keeps you all safe when you’re in the Square, and right now, as an essential worker, he’s making sure Fed Square is safe and secure for when we return. We caught up with him this week to talk to the man behind the control room.

Meet Pierra Van Sparkes, assistant curator at Koorie Heritage Trust

Meet Pierra Van Sparkes, Pibbulman Noongar person, new assistant curator at Koorie Heritage Trust, talented artist and all-around superstar. As one of our newest Fed Folk, we caught up with Pierra to find out about their job, what’s happening at KHT, their art and how she’s been managing trying to keep the balance right while working from home.

Meet Joost, creator of Future Food System at Fed Square

Joost Bakker is the creator of Future Food System: a zero-waste, self-sustaining, closed-loop house that produces all the energy and nutrients it uses. Situated at Fed Square’s River Terrace and occupied by award-winning chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone, the house has functioned as a living eco-experiment, gaining worldwide public interest and media attention, including from The New York Times, BBC and CNN.

We caught up with Joost to talk about why he thinks the project has been such a smash-hit success, what he’s looking forward to, now that Future Food System is staying on at Fed Square until 2022 – and solving the world’s problems one veggie patch at a time.

Meet Sophie, curator at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

We recently caught up with Sophie, a curator at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, to talk about her job, art, how she manages working from home and what it’s like working here at Fed Square. Oh, and about a very unusual dinner party starring one of Australia’s most famous paintings!

Meet Ben, the Wizard of Fed!

Did you know there is a real human behind the huge Fed Square Big Screen? Well, that’s Ben. He’s the guy that programs what you see on all the various screens around the Square. Interesting job, right? Well, we recently caught up with Ben (our very own Wizard of Fed!) for a quick chat about his job, and his top lockdown tips.

Meet Anand and Anila

On Monday 17 May, Australian Citizenship ceremonies recommenced after nearly a year’s hiatus due to COVID restrictions.  We caught up with Anand and Anila, who both became citizens that day…