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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 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.
Hi Suranjan! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an afternoon cleaning supervisor and have been at Fed Square for more than six years.
My role is to assign the duties handed over from the previous shifts, monitor the daily activities around the site and supervise the evening staff. Also, I am responsible for maintaining a tidy site and reporting any OHS issues. I also assist in the periodicals, rosters and the audits.
What does a typical day look like in your job?
Well, I just love coming to work and getting the handover and plan for the day. I don’t think there’s any typical day; as we do lots of events, each event is different. But we have our processes and plans in place, so we have a good idea of what to expect for any event, including major events, that might be on. Also, our Venue Supervisors are really helpful, making sure to give us a heads-up immediately if there are any changes to events, or the scheduled tasks, and we are always ready to make adjustments to our work accordingly.
What would most people not know about what you do in your job?
As a supervisor I do audit rounds, where I walk around and visit offices around the Square, to check on everything. One day I was walking around with the site phone, doing audits. One of the security guards said: “I see you always on the phone! Don’t you do any work?”. I told him, “This is what I am hired for!”. He wasn’t aware of my SOPs (standard operating procedures). But things have changed now. He appreciates the way I work and he compliments for the good job we do here. And that’s really pleasing.
It’s also part of my job to make sure that Fed Square minimises waste that goes into landfill. We do this by checking bin contamination levels and assisting tenants with their waste removal.
How has being in lockdown affected your job and what you do?
We are so grateful to Fed Square that we didn’t have to change anything with the core rosters. We do regular deep cleanings and industry-standard sanitisation to keep the site safe and also provide OHS training to our staff in these quiet times.
What do you do to unwind? Any tips for things to watch/read/listen to, to get through lockdown?
Well, even though I am working, definitely lockdown has affected me in many ways. I have been waiting to go and see my family, who are in Nepal, for the last two years. Due to the travel restrictions, I am still waiting. To keep my mind busy, I play guitar, I watch sports and a few Netflix series, and I listen to music. I also communicate with my friends and family through Facebook or other social media.
What are you looking forward to when we get back (out of lockdown)?
Definitely I will be looking forward to more and more events at Fed Square. The glory of Fed Square is with all the big events. I have been able to witness all the multicultural diversity of Victoria through events at Fed Square.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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!
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.
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…