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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  • Power: Freedom to Create

Mary the Pigeon, Atkinson Secure Unit, Commended Award for Printmaking, 2020

Power: Freedom to Create

National Justice Museum, Nottingham

Until 6 June 2021

Power: Freedom to Create, in partnership with the National Justice Museum, will open as soon as restrictions ease in Nottingham. Please check back on this page for further updates.


A black and white print of a deer, one of the images on display at the exhibition, Power
Nae I Dear, HM Prison Greenock, Commended Award for Printmaking

Power: Freedom to Create, will explore the intriguing question: ‘where does the power come from in a work of art?’

Artwork from the 2020 Koestler Awards, created in criminal justice settings all around the UK, will sit alongside objects from the National Justice Museum’s collection.

More information coming soon.