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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Woman With Wooden Hair, HM Prison Peterborough on display at A Feeling We All Share at Snape Maltings, 2019

Exhibitions around the UK

Each year we hold exhibition programmes across the UK, involving local groups and artists to shape the content. These exhibitions showcase entries to the Koestler Awards by artists from particular areas. They allow more entrants’ families to see the artworks, and aim to engage the artists’ local communities.

Each programme includes performances, talks and discussions to open up new debate and perspectives on the artworks.

We work in partnership with host venues to create these ambitious programmes, with the support of local and national funders.

Past exhibition programmes have been held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Colchester, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Previous curators have included local youth offending teams, serving prisoners, secure children’s homes, artists and people on probation.

If you are a festival, arts venue or arts organisation and would like to discuss a partnership please email Fiona Curran, Director of Arts fiona@koestlerarts.org.uk


Previous exhibition programmes