PROJECTS 1980 - 1990

Between 1980 and 1986 Isabel Vasseur encouraged and developed working relationships across East Anglia’s museums and galleries as Visual Arts Officer at Eastern Arts Association. With guidance from Jane Heath, Isabel set up arts initiatives, established artist residencies and introduced public art projects throughout the eastern region. In 1986 Isabel was appointed Visual Arts Director for the Glasgow Garden Festival, a national development project in Scotland.

The Glasgow Garden Festival was the third Garden Festival following on from the first in Liverpool 1984 and the second in Stoke-on-Trent 1986. Conceived in 1980 by the then secretary for the environment, Michael Heseltine, the garden festivals were intended to kick-start re-development of inner city areas affected by significant post-industrial blight.

The 100-acre site was an impressive former industrial site, that required total transformation, taking up a section of Prince’s Dock on the south side of the River Clyde that housed support industries linked to Glasgow’s ship building industry. The project encompassed the development of more than 50 commissioned and loaned art works located within the freshly landscaped site.

It was an ambition from its inception that there would be a significant commitment to visual art within the scope of the overall design of the park. Isabel programmed the creative commissioning and fund-raising target for a visual art budget of 800,000 GBP. The project was hugely ambitious in scope, rejuvenating a large area adjacent to the River Clyde, and the art content alone took two years from its initiation until completion and launch in 1988. The rejuvenated area eventually became the location for the Glasgow Science Centre, opened in 2001, among other important infrastructure that has enhanced the city of Glasgow.

In 1988 Isabel was invited to be the Visual Arts Director for the National Garden Festival, Gateshead. The site encompassed a former railway, coke works and docks. It ran along side the South side of the River Tyne from Dunston Staiths to Gateshead. With nearly double the budget of the Glasgow Garden Festival, Isabel raised and committed 1.5 million GBP to be directed towards 70 commissions across different disciplines in art and craft and an extensive education programme. The festival ran from May to October 1990 attracting 3 million visitors, after the festival the site became the location for several housing developments.


1990 – 1991

Acting Senior Visual Arts Officer – Arts Council of Great Britain

1988 – 1990

Visual Arts Director for the National Garden Festival, Gateshead.

Raised the 1.5 million budget through the NGF core budget and sponsorship. Responsible for the creation of a programme, which comprised approximately 70 commissions and included a major crafts and education programme. Click here for more

1986 – 1988

Visual Arts Director for the Glasgow Garden Festival.

Raised budget of 800,000 GBP. Approximately 50 commissions and loans, with a programme of performance art and residencies. Click here for more

1980 – 1986

Visual Arts Officer of the Eastern Arts Association (now Arts Council of England, East)

1982 – 1986

Curator of exhibitions at Norwich Premises, The Wells Art Centre and Gallery 49 Norwich

Curated and co-ordinated collections for public and private sector institutions. Developed residency/education programmes and fundraised throughout all projects.