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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  • Inside

Antony Gormley in the Koestler Arts Centre, 2017
Letter to My Mother, HM Prison Channings Wood, First-Time Entrant Award for Watercolour, 2017

Inside: curated by Antony Gormley

Art by offenders, secure patients and detainees from the 2017 Koestler Awards

21 Sep – 15 Nov
Royal Festival Hall

Antony Gormley, the renowned artist, curates an exhibition showcasing artworks produced in the UK’s prisons, secure hospitals and immigration removal centres, and by ex-offenders in the community.

This year’s show responds to the theme ‘Inside’, set by Gormley with input from prisoners, and aims to get people talking about the UK’s criminal justice system.

The artworks are selected from over 7,000 pieces of fine art, design, writing and music entered to this year’s Koestler Awards.

> Click here to see a selection of the artworks in the show.

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