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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 Beakon from GULL5

Beakon sets hearts a-flutter with his full bad-buoy other-side-of-the-river sleeves, but don’t be fooled. He’s a sensitive guy and a dreamer. We caught up with Beakon this week to find out a bit more about the buoy behind the beak.

Hey Beakon! Tell us about yourself. The gulls are dying to know!

Oh, there’s not much to tell. I’m a quiet guy. I love the ocean, long walks on the beach, that sort of thing.

So coy! Tell us about your tatts, then. What is the story there?

I’m really into art and symbolism and tarot and stuff, and I have a terrible memory. So, I like to collect all my favourite things on my wings, so when I’m feeling a bit blue, all I need to do is look at my sleeves! It makes me happy. I really like shiny stuff like sparkly stones or old beer bottles that have washed up in the Yarra that are that nice green-y colour. There’re fewer of them around now though – mostly the kids have moved to those spritzer drinks in cans. They’re shiny too, but not as nice. To be honest, it’s probably a good thing I’m not seeing as many beer bottles around though – we’ve gotta look after the Birrarung! Keep it green and clean.

Are you a bit of an environmentalist?

Yeah for sure! I’m a city bird, but I love getting out into nature. And I think it’s super important to look after our urban spaces – protect our urban waterways, reduce pollution, plant more food. All that. That’s why I prefer to eat from the futurefoodsystem garden, because I know it’s clean and 100% organic.

I do have a weakness for chips – but I’m trying to stay off them this year, reduce my carbs, ya know? Gotta keep in shape for gigs.

Tell us about your journey with GULL5 and your new track.

Well, the buoys – Buckett, Chippendale, Wingo Starr, Gulliver – and I met out the back of Fed Square where all the K-Pop groups practice their dancing a few years back, and we used to just watch and try and steal their lunchboxes.

We all come from different flights of life, but just by luck, all of us just really started getting into it. We’d come every day, particularly during school hols when all the groups are there in earnest – making their TikToks and YouTube vids and stuff. We learnt some of the moves, and then we pretty soon realized each of us is pretty musical too. From there it just took off.

This new track is one we’re super proud of. It’s basically a love song. It’s really about what we love about Narrm, but it’s sorta clever because it could also be about a gull-friend. It works on different levels. That was Buckett’s idea, he’s the bird brain of the operation.

Is there anything you’d like people to know about you that they might not know?

I’m a Pieces, so I’m a water guy. A fish-bird. I go with the flow. Ya know?

You can catch Beakon and GULL5 performing their hit new song RELATIONCHIP, as part of Seagull TV – televised each night at Fed Square on our Big Screen from 6pm–7pm.

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

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.

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…