Entering the Koestler Awards FAQs
Who can enter the Koestler Awards?
- 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 unit (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).
- Artworks may be submitted as an individual or a group entry.
What can be entered?
- Original work can be entered in any of the artforms listed in our guidance notes, up to a maximum of 5 in total.
- The work must be from the last 12 months.
- Do not enter artworks copied directly from other artworks.
- Do not enter work that includes your name in the artwork or work made through purchased kits.
What artforms do you accept?
We currently accept artworks across 52 different categories. Take a look at our artwork gallery for examples from previous years and download our guidance notes for a full list of this year’s categories.
What is the Themed Category?
Each year we invite our entrants to have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler artform inspired by our Themed Category. You can find out more about this year’s Themed Category in our guidance notes.
How do I enter?
- Entrants can submit up to 5 entries into the Koestler Awards.
- Download entry forms for this year’s Koestler Awards and fill in 1 entry form for each entry. You are welcome to photocopy the form.
- Follow the guidance notes for entering, noting that entry forms must be signed-off by an authorised member of staff.
- Send items up to 2kg free using ‘Freepost KOESTLER ARTS’.
- Pack work carefully so that it reaches us safely. The maximum weight limit is 15kg per parcel. Many establishments send a van of entries each year – ask if this happens at your establishment.
Will names be made public?
- Entrants and the member of staff signing entry forms can choose to use first name only or remain anonymous. We will make first names public in exhibition only if entrants are aged 18 or over and we have permission on the entry form.
- We ask entrants to think carefully about having first names shown, especially if it may identify entrants as an offender to relatives, employers or the press. We cannot accept responsibility for any repercussions.
- Entrants and the authorised member of staff who signs the entry form should consider if there are sensitivities around a first name being published, particularly concerning victims of a crime or heightened media profile.
- We ask that entrants do not sign artworks with full names, or put it on the back of any artwork, or otherwise reference it in the entry. If this happens, we will need to remove it before exhibition or sale, or may not be able to display the work.
What is Fast Feedback?
All entrants under 18 can receive their certificate and feedback within 4 weeks of entry, and can enter at any point of the year. The parcel containing the entry must be marked ‘Under 18s Fast Feedback Programme’ to be eligible.
Our Fast Feedback programme for under 18s was developed to address the special circumstance that young people face in the criminal justice sector. Sentences are often short and young people move through the system much more quickly. It provides an opportunity for young people to have their work recognised and celebrated before they move on.
Read more about the Fast Feedback Programme.
Koestler Awards timeline
Deadline for all entries to reach Koestler Arts Centre
June - July
Judging takes place at the Koestler Arts Centre
UK Awards results published on our website
September - November
UK exhibition at Southbank Centre
All UK Awards certificates and prizes posted out
Sales money sent out
December - March
Entries returned to entrants and next year’s Awards forms and guidance available