The Koestler Awards for arts in criminal justice started in 1962. Each year over 3,500 people in custody and in the community share their creative work by taking part. The Koestler Awards provide feedback and encouragement to entrants of all abilities in visual art, design, writing and music.
In addition to the Koestler Awards, we also run an arts mentoring scheme for former prisoners who want to continue to develop their work in the community. Find out more about Koestler Arts Mentoring.
2020 Koestler Awards
This year's Koestler Awards has an important role to play supporting our community, particularly those who may be more isolated than usual due to the impact of Covid-19.
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How to Enter the Koestler Awards
The Koestler Awards is open to entrants of all abilities in visual art, design, writing and music.
Find out how to enter
Each year, we give out over 2,000 Koestler Awards. Every entrant gets a certificate and many winners receive a cash prize.
Download last year's winners (PDF)
Entries are judged by over 100 experts from different fields. This year's judges will include Jeremy Deller and Bob and Roberta Smith!
Feedback is an important part of the Koestler Awards. Entrants receive comments and ideas on how to develop their work from judges, volunteers or the Koestler Arts team.
Under 18s Fast Feedback
All entrants under 18 can receive their certificate and feedback within 4 weeks of entry, and enter at any point of the year.
Throughout the year we sell visual arts and crafts on behalf of Koestler Awards entrants. We do this online, through our pop-up shop, in our building and at our exhibitions.
Visit the online shop
Exhibitions and Events
Each year, we show a selection of Koestler Awards entries to the public at our annual UK exhibition at Southbank Centre, as well as exhibitions and events around the UK.
Find out more