An update from Koestler Arts in response to the impact of Covid-19

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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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Wet Sunday, HM Prison Nottingham, First Koestler Award winner for Painting, 1962

Staff & Board

Board of Trustees

  • Dame Anne Owers, Chair of Trustees (appointed 2013) – National Chair of Independent Monitoring Boards, former Chief Inspector of Prisons, former Chair of IPCC
  • Ariane Bankes, Vice Chair – Arts & Education freelance writer, niece by marriage of Arthur Koestler
  • Jane Gillespie, Treasurer – former Finance and IT professional and Justice of the Peace
  • David Banks – Former Director of G4S and GSL
  • Nicholas Bowlby – Fine art dealer
  • Stephen Chambers RA – Artist, and a member of the governing council of the Royal Academy
  • Zelda Cheatle – Photography consultant
  • Carl Hardwick – Governor of HM Prison Drake Hall
  • Roger Hill – Director of Community and Partnership at Sodexo Justice Services, former Director of the National Probation Service
  • Femi Keeling (née Martin) – Writer and performer
  • Gary Mansfield – Artist, podcast producer and former prisoner
  • Andrea Rose CMG OBE – Former Director of Visual Arts at the British Council
  • Robert Taylor – Photographer

Honorary President

  • Lord Ramsbotham GCB CBE –  Former Chief Inspector of Prisons


  • Sally Taylor – Chief Executive
  • Lucie Bright – General Manager (pt)
  • Md Robaitul Islam – Finance Officer (pt)
  • Mark Rogers – Database Manager

Arts Team

  • Fiona Curran – Director of Arts (pt Tue – Fri)
  • Jo Tapp – Arts Manager
  • Lara Akinnawo – Arts Co-ordinator (on maternity leave)
  • Laura Pattison – Arts Co-ordinator (maternity cover)
  • Lee Cutter – Senior Arts and Exhibitions Assistant
  • Phoebe Dunn – Arts and Exhibitions Assistant
  • Isobel Rahman – Temporary Arts Assistant
  • Beth Aydon – Arts Team Assistant (pt)

Outreach and Involvement Team

  • Sarah Mathéve – Director of Outreach and Involvement (pt Wed – Fri)
  • Ellie Donaldson – Mentoring Co-ordinator
  • Fina Schneider – Outreach Co-ordinator
  • Charis Dishman – Arts and Outreach Officer (pt Wed – Thurs)

Fundraising and Development Team

  • Mali Clements – Development Director
  • Jennifer McGowan – Digital and Communications Officer