Isabel AppioVisible Start Graduate

Isabel’s focus is championing and supporting self-led, marginalised and under-represented creatives, of which there are many.

Isabel seems to have been purpose driven from an early age, with an innate desire to work for herself inspired by a self-made, community centred Nigerian father and a resourceful, all-round capable Scottish mother. As a child she asked for a desk, not a playhouse, in her room and spent many happy hours writing books and making magazines out of paper, felt-tips, staples and string. It should come as no surprise that Isabel became a journalist and publisher with a love of photography and art.

After school she was lucky enough to end up at the progressive Polytechnic of Central London where she studied for a BA in Media Communications/Film & Photography with tutors such as writer/photographer Victor Burgin.

Growing up in the heart of late 70s London, part of her still belongs to that era: Soho’s infamous Wag and King’s Road clubs, funk and soul, disco life…waitressing at West End cocktail bars in a wardrobe of neon platform boots, flares, starry loons, bell sleeves and psychedelic cat suits she would dearly love to wear again now!

After a short stint as an advertising photographer’s assistant in a Chelsea studio, Isabel got a job as a news reporter on Black UK newspaper Caribbean Times, where her first assignment was to interview the grieving relatives of the New Cross fire.

She later joined Time Out’s magazine team as a music writer and was catapulted into the 80’s music business world, with heady times as a ‘rock journo’ interviewing global music celebrities. She remains forever grateful to Time Out’s late founder Tony Elliot and for the mentorship of the fab Tim Clark (ex- Editor Wallpaper and Arena magazine) for extraordinary opportunities and incredible life experience.

Isabel joined the Voice Group in Brixton as Editorial Director during the height of its campaigning years, when The Voice was the biggest selling UK Black newspaper and voice of the Black community. She went on to launch the award-winning Weekly Journal, Britain’s first Black broadsheet newspaper, which broke the mould by advertising private sector and corporate executive — not just Public Sector Council — jobs.

In the 90s she set up her own company, the then-called SOHO Publishing (Small Office Home Office), which she grew from her front room. Spending many great years in the front line and at the forefront of Diversity & Inclusion in Education, Careers and Culture for young Black/People of Colour graduates, school leavers and under-represented women, she single-handedly built up an extensive and loyal client base: everything from central government to leading corporates. “30 years later and still…many of the same challenges.”

Not so much work as a ‘purpose-led passion’, Isabel now collaborates with other creatives and people who care just as much as she does. Her focus is still championing and supporting self-led, marginalised and under-represented creatives, of which there are many – to quote Isabel herself: “Yay! So much talent everywhere!”

She is also developing a new magazine and Instagram profile with Anna Roseveare of Grown Women Central: GWC – a platform for great over-50 creative women everywhere.

Isabel has found it energising to be part of the Visible Society movement, sharing experience with  midlife women in the same space and moving forward together. “Big love and respect to Jacquie and Jane for making it happen for all of us.”

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Juline SinclairHeidi Edmunds