2020 Koestler Awards
An update from Koestler Arts in response to the impact of Covid-19
UPDATED 21 MAY 2020
The priority for Koestler Arts, at this challenging time, whilst ensuring that the Koestler Awards 2020 go ahead, is looking after our community.
Following government and NHS advice, our staff and volunteers have been working remotely from home since mid-March to help protect those around us.
We know the importance of our work to those who are in the criminal justice system, particularly those who may be more isolated than usual, due to specific challenges our prisons and other secure settings are facing.
Given the change in government advice in mid-May, we are now able to begin to process 2020 entries at the Koestler Arts Centre, whilst adhering to government and NHS guidelines around social distancing and team safety.
We anticipated that prisons would struggle to assist entrants in getting their work to us for the original 3 April deadline and therefore extended the deadline to help with this.
We have been delighted to see that many entrants have been able to send their work to us and are pleased to announce that the revised deadline for entries is Tuesday 7 July.
We will do our utmost to respond to submissions in the usual ways (feedback, awards, certificates, sales, exhibitions). We will continue to focus our work on core programmes, and do our best to update entrants, volunteers, criminal justice staff and other partners on revised information.
Please note that, as our office has been closed for over 2 months, there may be delays in our response to letters. If you have enquiries that can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the appropriate staff member, please email.
We would like to wish you all well and to thank all of you for your continued support at this extraordinary time.
Sally Taylor, CEO
Updated deadline: Tuesday 7 July
Due to the current prison lockdown, we will be sharing a weekly Art Aid sheet with simple activities to help inspire learners in secure settings. Click on the link below to find out more.
The 2020 Koestler Awards is open to:
- Anyone in custody in a UK prison; young offender institution; secure training centre; secure children’s home; immigration removal centre; or high or medium security psychiatric hospital or units (including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man).
- Any current client of the National Probation Service or a Community Rehabilitation Company; a Youth Offending Service; the Scottish Criminal Justice Social Work Service or their equivalents elsewhere in the UK.
- Any UK citizen currently in a prison overseas (must submit via Prisoners Abroad).
The themed category for the 2020 Koestler Awards is Window.
We invite our entrants to have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler Artform using the word: Window, as a theme.
Annual Exhibition Curator: Camille Walala
We are delighted to announce that our 2020 annual UK exhibition at Southbank Centre in September 2020 will be curated by artist Camille Walala!
To be in with a chance of selection for this exhibition, entrants must submit work into the 2020 Koestler Awards.
Creative work must be entered into the Koestler Awards by the deadline. It will then be judged for Koestler Awards by over 120 expert performers, writers, artists, designers and curators, and given feedback, before being considered for the UK exhibition by Camille.
Download our factsheet to find out more.
Additional exhibition opportunity for entrants in Yorkshire
Koestler Arts are coming to Yorkshire for the first time! We’re partnering with Millennium Gallery in Sheffield to exhibit artwork entered into the 2020 Koestler Awards from January to April 2021.
The work will be selected from 2020 entries from Yorkshire to all 52 categories of the Koestler Awards (fine art, music, writing and craft & design).
To be in with a chance of being exhibited, work must be submitted to the 2020 Koestler Awards by the deadline.
Find out more about the exhibition.
North West England Exhibition
Additional exhibition opportunity for entrants across the North West
The work will be selected from 2020 entries from the North West of England across all 52 categories of the Koestler Awards (fine art, music, writing and craft & design).
The show will celebrate the human right of accessing and contributing to culture.
We hope that this extra exhibition opportunity will encourage as many entries as possible from the North West of England to ensure this is a powerful showcase for the region.
2020 Stage Play Awards
In partnership with Synergy Theatre Project
In 2020, Koestler Arts and Synergy Theatre Project will continue to showcase Stage Play entries and provide feedback for the writers.
Synergy Theatre Project is a ground-breaking charity that works through theatre towards a fairer world where those within or at risk of entering the criminal justice system can discover alternative pathways and become an integral and meaningful part of society.
Download the 2020 Stage Play guidance notes.
Under 18s Fast Feedback
Entrants who are under 18 can enter the Koestler Awards at any point in the year and get a response to their entries within 4 weeks of entry, with guaranteed feedback. Under 18s are also considered for additional Awards.
Find out more about Fast Feedback.