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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The Test, HM Prison Greenock, on display at Another Me, 2019

Annual UK Exhibition

Our annual UK exhibition, in partnership with London’s Southbank Centre, includes entries to the year’s Koestler Awards from across the UK, and from British prisoners abroad.

The programme includes talks, performances, a pop-up shop, tours and open days for the families of exhibited artists.

Since 2013, the UK exhibition has been presented to the public by ex-prisoner exhibition hosts, specially trained and recruited to lead tours and answer questions about the artwork and criminal justice system.

Each year we take a new approach to the curation, in order to bring new perspectives to the selection and interpretation of the work.

Past curators have included Antony Gormley, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, Benjamin Zephaniah, Speech Debelle, Soweto Kinch, the families of prisoners, victims of crime, serving female prisoners and graduates of our mentoring programmes.


Recent exhibitions: