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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City Liberty, Erika, glue and newspaper on card, 2017-18

Our Journey

Koestler Trust at House of Saint Barnabas

April – September 2019

Our Journey celebrates the work of ten artists who have benefitted from the Koestler Arts Mentoring Scheme. The scheme provides creative guidance for ex-prisoners, matching them with established artists, writers, producers and crafts people following their release. It aims to support their resettlement into the community by encouraging and empowering them to continue their arts-based activities and work towards their own creative goals.

The featured artists are at diverse stages of their mentoring and resettlement journeys. Some are still receiving mentoring and have only recently been released from prison, while others completed the programme ten years ago. Overall, this exhibition celebrates the talent that has been nurtured throughout and beyond Koestler Arts Mentoring and many of the pieces in this display are for sale.

I had a drawing in a Koestler exhibition ten years ago. It’s exciting to have my work placed alongside such talented artists. And I get to see it this time!

House of St Barnabas is a private members’ club, so is not normally open to the public. See the exhibited artworks in our online gallery below.