Western Sydney University collaborates on multi-disciplinary summer school

Impression of Powerhouse Parramatta Holdmark Gallery, Mogamma

Western Sydney University will partner with Powerhouse Parramatta and Holdmark to establish a multi-disciplinary summer school focused on urban design, transformation, and holistic approaches to the built form.

Every year the summer school will engage with a Western Sydney local council on a project to tackle real-world design, engineering and architecture challenges and students will generate solutions under the guidance of national and international academics and practitioners. The partnership will importantly support Western Sydney University scholarships and graduate internships with Holdmark.

“Western Sydney University is proud to partner with Powerhouse Parramatta and Holdmark to deliver this innovative summer school program, which will simultaneously develop students’ design thinking capability and advance practical solutions for issues directly identified by the local Western Sydney community,” said Professor Barney Glover AO Vice-Chancellor and President of Western Sydney University.

The summer school initiative follows a $10 million investment in Powerhouse Parramatta by Sarkis Nassif, founder and Chief Executive of Holdmark Property Group, that will support the establishment of the Holdmark Gallery and a new biennial exhibition focusing on innovation in design, engineering, and architecture. Holdmark Gallery will be the second largest gallery space in Powerhouse Parramatta, featuring 2300 square metres of floor space and 8-metre-high ceilings.

In addition, Holdmark will become the principal partner of Sydney Design Week. Curated and produced by the Powerhouse, this renowned festival has been running for more than 20 years and has played an instrumental role in the evolution of design practice in Australia and internationally.

“I am so excited to see the establishment of the Holdmark Gallery in Powerhouse Parramatta, which will become a place of education and collaboration for all in New South Wales. The new summer school program will give young people unprecedented access to experts who will challenge them in real-world scenarios, all right here in Western Sydney,” said NSW Minister for the Arts, The Hon Benjamin Franklin MLC.

“This significant investment will have a material impact on future generations of young people in Western Sydney embarking on careers in design, engineering and architecture, and cements Sarkis Nassif’s longstanding commitment to the Western Sydney community. I would like to express my profound gratitude for Holdmark’s visionary commitment to Powerhouse Parramatta,” said Museum Trust President, Peter Collins AM QC.

“From humble beginnings in Parramatta 40 years ago, to being named Property Person of the Year by Urban Taskforce in 2017, Sarkis Nassif has worked determinedly since arriving in Australia to grow Holdmark into the thriving business that it is today. We are thrilled to partner with Holdmark on Sydney Design Week and to realise the Holdmark Gallery, with related exhibitions showcasing extraordinary design, architecture and innovation, as part of our new flagship museum, Powerhouse Parramatta,” said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah.

“Parramatta is a world-class city in the making and it deserves world-class cultural facilities to match. As a family business firmly rooted in Western Sydney, Holdmark is proud to partner with an organisation that will elevate our region onto the international stage. We are truly excited to see the contribution the Powerhouse Parramatta will make to the cultural and educational fabric of Western Sydney for generations to come,” said founder and Chief Executive of Holdmark Property Group, Sarkis Nassif.


14 April 2022

Media Unit