Unlock the talent inside

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique, national role in motivating prisoners, secure hospital patients and immigration detainees to take part in the arts. The Koestler Awards are simple and powerful – we reward achievement, build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised people.

Our work harnesses the uniquely transformative power of the arts to help individuals learn the skills and gain the confidence to live creative, positive and productive lives. Each year we receive more than 7,000 entries from over 3,500 entrants across the UK in 52 categories. More than 2,000 Awards are granted by over 100 esteemed judges, and each year culminates in a curated exhibition at Southbank Centre which showcases the incredible power of the arts to transform lives.

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Archive

  • Stories, Socks & Jay Cloths

    Stories, Socks & Jay Cloths
    HM Prison and Young Offender Institution Low Newton
    John Crockett Highly Commended Award for Themed Category: Interlude
    2019

    Limited edition of 100, +5 Artist’s Proofs (unframed)

    Giclée print on Hahnemühle – Photo Rag, 308gsm, 49 x 33.8 cm

    Numbered and embossed with Koestler Arts Editions logo on front

    You will receive the next available number in the edition of 100.

    Koestler Arts Editions is a series of inspiring Koestler Awards entries, beautifully printed in limited numbers, and sold to raise funds for the charity. We are delighted to launch our first limited edition print, Stories, Socks & Jay Cloths.

    We are enormously grateful to Susan Dunn for her support of this project. By covering the initial costs, all proceeds from the prints will now directly benefit our entrants, and provide encouragement and opportunity to even more people in the criminal justice system.


  • The Owl

    The Owl 
    Thames House Women’s Centre
    Painting
    2019

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 59.4 x 42cm.

    This artwork is a continuation of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Woman in Cafe

    Woman in Cafe
    St. Magnus Hospital
    Bronze Award for Portrait
    2019

    Oil pastel on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.7 x 42cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Interlude – Migration

    Interlude – Migration
    HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Chelmsford
    Highly Commended Award for Themed category
    2019

    Pencil on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 42.2 x 30.1cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Train over Troubled Waters

    Train over troubled waters
    HM Prison Barlinnie
    Pastel
    2019

    Pastel on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 42 x 29.8cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • A Rhondda Valley Beach

    A Rhondda Valley Beach
    HM Prison Birmingham
    Pastel
    2019

    Pastel on card.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.7 x 20.3cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Vase of Flowers

    Vase of Flowers
    John Howard Centre (secure mental heath unit)
    Pastel
    2016

    Pastel on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 42 x 60cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Let me tell you a story

    Let me tell you a story
    HM Prison Barlinnie
    Drawing
    2016

    Pencil on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.7 x 42cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Sunscape

    Sunscape
    218 Service
    Mixed Media
    2019

    Paper, cardboard and tissue paper on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 40.8 x 29.9cm.

    Original artwork for a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.

    Please note: There is a small tear in the middle at the bottom of the paper. This is only visible when looking at the back of the artwork.


  • Square Top Caravan

    Square Top Caravan
    HM Prison Lewes
    Highly Commended Award for Watercolour and Gouache
    2019

    Watercolour on card.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 38.3 x 29.8cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Cool Mount Fuji

    Cool Mount Fuji
    HM Prison Woodhill
    Watercolour and Gouache
    2018

    Watercolour on card.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 37.7 x 27cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Connections to Faith

    Connections to Faith
    HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Low Newton
    Commended Award for Watercolour and Gouache
    2018

    Watercolour on card.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 15.3 x 25.8cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Women Resilience

    Women Resilience
    HM Prison Peterborough
    Painting
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 34.2 x 27.8cm.

    This artwork was on display at Anawim Women’s Centre in Birmingham as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Blobs

    Blobs
    HM Prison Woodhill
    Watercolour and Gouache
    2018

    Watercolour on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 26 x 29.5cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Summer in a Pink Dress

    Summer in a Pink Dress
    HM Prison Send
    Painting
    2017

    Sold framed, dimensions: 48 x 63cm.

    This artwork was on display at HM Prison & YOI Low Newton in County Durham as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Tea Time

    Tea Time
    HM Prison Woodhill
    Watercolour
    2018

    Watercolour on paper.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 25 x 22cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Indian Culture

    Indian Culture
    HM Prison Woodhill
    Silver Award for Painting
    2018

    Poster colour on card.

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 42 x 29.7 cm.

    Original artwork by a Koestler Awards Entrant.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • An Inside Story

    This art book, made by former Koestler Awards entrant Lee Cutter, gives an insight into the everyday of prison culture.

    Over the past few years Lee has explored his memories of isolation by writing short stories and making meticulous carvings using prison soap. 99 of these carvings were recently displayed at the 250th RA Summer Exhibition. This book brings together 99 short stories, alongside photographs of the displayed carvings.

    An Inside Story is covered and hand bound using fabric from prison bedsheets and visitation shirts. The book is 218 pages, signed and dated by the artist, in an edition of 99.

    Click below to see inside the book.


  • Britain’s Forgotten Pride: The Golden Eagle

    Britain’s Forgotten Pride: The Golden Eagle
    HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Low Newton
    Drawing
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 19.8 x 29.3cm.

    This artwork was on display at Bedlington Police Station as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.

    Click below to see the full image.


  • Milton Keynes

    Milton Keynes
    Atkinson Secure Unit
    Katharine Cheney First-Time Entrant Award for Printmaking
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.4 x 36.2cm.

    This artwork was on display at Guildford Crown Court as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.


  • Peeping Through the Flowers

    Peeping Through the Flowers
    HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Styal
    Mixed Media
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 629.6 x 42cm.

    This artwork was on display at Manchester Crown Court as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.


  • The Eye

    The Eye
    Atkinson Secure Unit
    Drawing
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.7 x 40.1cm.

    This artwork was on display at the Constituency Office of Alex Chalk MP as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.


  • Bonny

    Bonny
    HM Prison & Young Offender Institution Polmont
    Drawing
    2017

    Sold unframed, dimensions: 29.4 x 31.9cm.

    This artwork was on display at HM Prison & YOI Grampian as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.


  • Desert of Destiny

    Desert of Destiny
    HM Prison Styal
    Painting
    2018

    Being creative in prisons has been my saving grace, as I have been able to express myself and deal with my emotions. Art was there when words failed me. I have realised potential within myself that I did not know existed. I survive my prison sentence by having hope and faith for a better future. My artwork is an expression of dreams of travel.

    This artwork was on display at the Supreme Court as part of our project 100 Years On.

    Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK in 2018. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.