Board of Trustees
Ariane Bankes (Vice Chair)
Ariane Bankes is the niece of Arthur Koestler, founder of the Koestler Trust (now Koestler Arts). After a career in publishing, she became an independent writer, art critic and curator, and is a passionate advocate for the role of the arts in rehabilitation. She was involved in launching the Koestler Arts mentoring programme and chairs the Arts Steering Group.
David Banks is Former Chief Executive of GSL Justice Services (now part of G4S) and a former member the Youth Justice Board. He is currently Director of Hyde Housing Association and the Disclosure and Barring Service. David is a violinist in Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra and has sat on the Board of Koestler Arts since 2013.
Nick Bowlby has been an art dealer for almost all of his working life, first dealing in early English watercolours, and then moving on to Modern British and contemporary art. Nick first became aware of the Koestler Trust (now Koestler Arts) when he was shown a garage full of artworks by the winner of the first Koestler Award for painting. He took an exhibition of his work out into the London art world and from that time began to understand better the power of creating, not only for those artists backed into dark places by circumstance but also their audience.
Stephen Chambers RA is a British artist living and working in Berlin and London. His work is shown and held in collections around the world. He was elected as a Royal Academy member in 2005. Stephen has been a Trustee since 2013. On the importance of the work of Koestler Arts, Stephen said, “There are no votes in prison reform, and prisons are nothing if not boring. Art is, after all, the only means of running away from home without leaving the room.”
Jane Gillespie (Treasurer)
Jane Gillespie was introduced to the work of the Koestler Trust (now Koestler Arts) during her time as a London Magistrate – first as part of a team of curators and now as a trustee and treasurer. After a career of over 20 years in the finance sector and 10 in the administration of educational charities, she is now retired. Jane believes strongly in the importance of rehabilitation in prison and the prevention of re-offending.
Carl Hardwick is Governor of HM Prison and Young Offender Institution Drake Hall in Staffordshire. As a keen advocate of the power of art in custodial settings, Carl is passionate about the work of Koestler Arts and the positive impact it has on both the women he looks after and the UK’s wider prison population. Carl is particularly interested in studio pottery and the art of Middle Eastern textile weaving. He has been a Trustee since 2018.
Roger Hill is a lifelong supporter of the Arts with a significant family history of artists and musicians. Roger has always worked in criminal justice including as Director of the National Probation Service, and since 2011 in the private sector, as Director for Community and Partnership at Sodexo Justice Services. Roger was appointed as a Trustee in 2019.
Femi Keeling is a British Caribbean playwright, theatre-maker and workshop leader born in London and based in Surrey. Femi believes in the transformative power of the arts in criminal justice settings and has previously judged the Koestler Awards. She has sat on the Board of Koestler Arts since 2016.
Dame Anne Owers (Chair)
Dame Anne Owers is Chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Chair of Trustees of Clinks, the national umbrella organisation for charities that work with people in the criminal justice system and their families. From 2001 to 2009, Anne was HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, and prior to that, she was Director of the human rights charity Justice. Anne has been Chair of Trustees at Koestler Arts since 2013.
Gary Mansfield was a long-term prisoner when he discovered art. From his cell, he corresponded with some of the biggest names in British contemporary art, who guided him towards a Fine Art degree. Gary is now an artist, curator and host of the ‘Ministry of Arts’ podcast, and has collaborated with many of the artists that once supported him. Gary was appointed as a Trustee in 2019.
Andrea Rose is Former Director of Visual Arts at The British Council. Her first involvement with Koestler Arts came through working with Jeremy Deller at the Venice Biennale in 2013 to exhibit the work of prisoners who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Andrea said, “it was eye-opening to see what this meant – for the artists, for their families, and for the art world in general. I am proud to have joined Koestler as a Trustee since then, and to support their extraordinary work.” Andrea is a member of the Arts Steering Group and has been a Trustee since 2014.
Robert Taylor is a photographer specialising in portraits of strong women and multi-media collaborations. He has work in various collections including the National Portrait Gallery, The V&A and the Royal Society. In 2007 he completed a project called ‘Inside Out/Outside In’, an exploration of creativity as a part of rehabilitation through portraits and interviews, created in prison, with award-winning artists. Robert judges the photography category of the Koestler Awards and has been a Trustee since 2010.