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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Jobs & volunteering

Koestler Arts and Ban the Box

Statement from Sally Taylor, Chief Executive

Koestler Arts is an inclusive organisation and actively promotes equality. We endorse the ethos of Ban the Box through our own system of positively encouraging applications from people with criminal convictions. We welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, particularly those who have lived experience of the criminal justice system.


Current opportunities:

We currently have no vacancies. Please check back soon.



I love to see people's poems, and connect with their intent and emotion. I also love to really work out what their purpose is and help them get closer to their target by giving really effective feedback - helpful comments are so encouraging for writers.

2019 feedback volunteer

I could see straight away that we shared a genuine love of words and that there was great scope for us to have a very interesting twelve months. I had set a piece of pre-meeting work which I was pleased to see had brought a response. The task was to describe what was interesting about a favourite work of art, we were soon talking about layers, hidden images and strange angles, all good stuff for poets!

Koestler Mentor