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.

Read more about us

Haroon Mirza and Gaia Fugazza judging Digital image

Judging the Koestler Awards

Our judges play a vital part in maintaining the impact and prestige of the Koestler Awards. By using their expertise to select award-winning artworks from over 8,000 entries, the judges help recognise and reward the skill, effort and ambition of people in the UK’s criminal justice system.

Entries are judged by over 100 experts from different fields. Judges have included Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, representatives from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Council, the National Theatre, the British Film Institute, Louise Galvin, Speech Debelle and Hot Chip.

We are very grateful to the judges who will be giving awards and feedback to 2018 Koestler Awards entrants, and the many more people who help compile shortlists and volunteer to give written feedback.

We are writing a blog about the judging process this year. Click here to read more.

To learn more about our fantastic team of judges this year, please click through the list of categories below.

  • Animation

    Paul Bush

    Paul Bush is a filmmaker and animation director whose work has been shown in cinemas and on television all over the world. He lectures and teaches at many film schools, including the National Film School in the UK and Harvard in the USA.

  • Anthology

    Rishi Dastidar

    Rishi Dastidar is a poet and copywriter. He has written for a wide variety of brands during his career and was recently a judge for D&AD. His poetry has been published by the BBC, Financial Times and New Scientist amongst many others. A member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective, his debut collection Ticker-tape is published by Nine Arches Press, and a poem from it was included in The Forward Book of Poetry 2018. He also serves as chair of the writer development organization Spread The Word.

    Claire Dyer

    Claire Dyer’s latest novel, The Last Day, is published by The Dome Press. Her previous novels The Moment and The Perfect Affair and her short story Falling for Gatsby, are published by Quercus. Her poetry collections, Eleven Rooms and Interference Effects, are published by Two Rivers Press. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London and is a regular guest on BBC Radio Berkshire’s Radio Reads with Bill Buckley. Claire also teaches creative writing at literary and writers’ festivals and for Bracknell & Wokingham College and runs Fresh Eyes, an editorial and critiquing service.


  • Arts Project

    Daniel Gorman

    Daniel Gorman is the executive director of Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture and a co-ordinator with Highlight Arts. His work focuses on increasing dialogue, communication and collaboration, while promoting social justice and equality through the arts. He has worked on arts and politics projects in the UK, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Lebanon and is a National Arts Strategies ‘CEO Community and Culture’ fellow and a British Council Cultural Leadership International fellow.

    Louise Shelly

    Louise Shelley is the Collaborative Projects Curator at The Showroom, London, coordinating the Communal Knowledge programme which is a series of collaborative projects with local and international artists to propose and activate approaches to critical engagement with The Showroom’s neighbourhood centring of questions of art and social justice.


  • Beauty

    Carole Warburton

    Carole Warburton has been a nail technician for over 25 years. Since 1998 she has been doing the nails at London Fashion Week, and Caribbean Fashion Week in Jamaica since 2014.

  • Braille

    Eleanor Southwood

    Eleanor is a Local Councillor, and the Chair of RNIB, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), the UK’s leading charity supporting blind and partially sighted people. We offer practical and emotional support to those that need us, so they can continue living life to the full.

  • Calligraphy

    Ewan Clayton

    Ewan has practised calligraphy for over 30 years and is a Professor in Design at the University of Sunderland. He is also a core member of staff at The Royal Drawing School.

    Edward Wates

    Edward Wates worked in academic publishing for over 40 years before retiring in 2018. His calligraphy has been exhibited internationally, and is held in collections in the UK, Germany, Pakistan and the US. He is an elected member of the Letter Exchange and serves on the Crafts Study Centre Acquisitions Committee. He is also Chair of the Irene Wellington Educational Trust and the Commonwork Trust.

  • Ceramics

    Emma Bridgewater

    Emma is a ceramic designer and founded her ceramics manufacturing company Emma Bridgewater in 1985. The company is one of the largest pottery manufacturers based entirely in the UK, with all of its products made and individually hand-decorated in its factory in Stoke-on-Trent.

    Tatiana Baskakova

    Tatiana is a visual artist exploring physicality of human body though performance and ceramic sculpture. She had co-founded Ceramics Studio Co-op in 2014 in London. The organisation provides arts and crafts education and supports ceramics artists at the early stage of their careers.

    Anne Ryan

    Anne is an artist who uses painting and ceramic sculpture in her work. She shows at Greengrassi Art Gallery in London and has shown widely in Europe and Britain. Upcoming home at Ribot gallery in Milan. Will be part of Centrefold Magazine which will be launched at Frieze Fair London 2018.

  • Choral Music

    Richard Harding

    Richard Harding is the Chairman of the Philharmonia Chorus. An independent symphony chorus based in London, the Philharmonia Chorus was founded in 1957 and quickly established itself as one of Europe’s leading symphony choruses. In a highly distinguished career, the Chorus has performed with nearly all the leading conductors of the age. The Chorus performs regularly in London, and over the next year will undertake tours to Spain and Germany.

  • Computer Generated Music

    Hot Chip

    Hot Chip was formed in 2000 by old school friends Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard, later joined by Felix Martin, Al Doyle and Owen Clarke. Their second album ‘The Warning’ was nominated for both a Grammy and the Mercury Prize in 2006. The follow-up, 2008’s ‘Made in the Dark’ made the UK Top 5 and produced a Top 10 single in “Ready for the Floor”. The band have gone on to release a further three albums as well as develop a reputation as skilled DJs and remixers.

  • Cover Version

    Collin Hills

    A musician, filmmaker and writer, Collin has several years experience of working in the music and film industries. He is the Music Programme Producer at The Roundhouse, and the Musical Director for a mental health charity which works with young people with mental health issues. He is a qualified Mental Health First instructor and works closely with mental health charities in South East England.



  • Craft

    Nicky Hessenberg

    Nicky is a craft artist whose work includes rugs and wallhangings made from a variety of recycled textiles, with graphic and abstract design work.

    Carola Zogolovitch

    Carola is a trained typographer and book designer and Koestler Awards judge for over 15 years.

  • Digital Art

    Zelda Cheatle

    Zelda is a curator and a visiting lecturer at several universities, including the Central St Martins, Kingston, Belfast, Westminster, and Sir John Cass. She recently chaired and curated the Sony World Photography Awards for Somerset House, exhibitions in China and the Middle East. She is currently working with Autograph, the association of Black photographers, and teaching in London, Paris and Shanghai.

    Gavin Graham 

    Gavin is an art consultant and advisor who studied History of Art at the Victoria and Albert museum and then worked for a London Fine Art auction house. For over 30 years he has dealt in fine art from a gallery in Nottinghill Gate, and for some years has been a collector of Modern British paintings and watercolours.

  • Drawing

    Jude Cowan

    Jude is a British artist, writer, composer, film historian, poet and broadcaster. She exhibits internationally and in London’s underground art community.

    Shama Khanna

    Shama is an independent curator, writer and educator from and based in London. Khanna curates Flatness (flatness.eu), a multi-format research and commissioning project engaging in ideas around immaterial culture after the internet, and the Non-Linear artists’ moving image screening series with events taking place in international venues from Vancouver to Vilnius. Khanna teaches at Kingston University and University of the Arts, London and co-edits the publication A-or-ist with 7 other writers.

    Terence Lambert

    Terence Lambert graduated in Fine Art from Batley School of Art. He is a fine artist/illustrator that works mainly in a digital format. Main themes of beauty, melancholy, isolation and anxiety run throughout his work. He is interested in and inspired by the human condition and social dynamics. He has himself received multiple Koestler awards and exhibited at the Southbank Centre on numerous occasions.

    Jacqui McIntosh

    Jacqui is Exhibitions Manager at Drawing Room – the only public and non-profit gallery in the UK and Europe dedicated to contemporary drawing. Independently, she has worked as a curator and writer in Ireland and the UK.

    Sarah Pickstone

    Sarah was born in Manchester, studied in Newcastle and lives and works in London. She is a full time Artist who also enjoys teaching drawing and painting at the Royal Drawing School. Sarah won the prestigious John Moore’s Painting Prize in 2012. She will exhibit ‘An Allegory of Painting’ at the Royal Academy of Arts which opens in September 2018.

  • Fashion

    Juliet Ash

    Known internationally as a leading figure in the field of Fashion and Dress History and Theory. Juliet is currently a visiting tutor in the History and Theory of Dress and Textiles at the Royal College of Art.

  • Film

    Caragh Davison

    Caragh Davison is the Network Coordinator at the BFI – a charitable organisation which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the UK.

    Arnold Voysey

    Arnold is the Operations, Partners and Projects Administrator at the BFI Film Fund – a charitable organisation which uses National Lottery funds to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films, and to increase the audiences who can enjoy them.

  • Flash Fiction and Short Story

    Carl Cattermole

    Seven-foot-tall repeat offender, ex-prisoner in multiple countries, author of HMP A Survival Guide, award winning journalist. Loves Miami, imperfection, humans. Hates: smart phones, estate agents, RBKC.

    Richard Hardwick

    Richard Hardwick is a writer of fiction, memoir, history and current affairs. His debut novel Kicked Out was Waterstone’s Recommended Read. His memoir Andalucia was described by Booker Prize winner Pat Barker as “told with great skill … both moving and inspiring”, while his latest book The Truth About Prison was described by Erwin James as “different to any other book on prison … compelling and quite breath-taking.” Richard has spent many years teaching creative writing in North-East prisons and in 2013 he won a national Butler Trust Award for his “outstanding skill, dedication and creativity working with prisoners.”

  • Furniture

    Julian Chichester

    Julian’s company ‘Julian Chichester’ creates classically inspired, quality English furniture. The company design and manufacture remarkable furniture, which combines classic styles with contemporary accents.

  • Graphic Design

    Emily Wood & Ruth Sykes

    Graphic designers and educators Ruth Sykes and Emily Wood founded their graphic design consultancy REG in 2003. They combine their  design practice with teaching at Central Saint Martins (Ruth) and Kingston University (Emily). They are interested in how graphic design can improve living and learning, and work with arts organisations, charities, schools and colleges.

  • Graphic Novel

    Grace Helmer

    Grace is a freelance illustrator, currently living and working in London, UK. Natural forms, people watching and a sense of adventure inspire Grace’s playful and colourful work. With her illustration she has worked for a range of clients including: Apple, HarvardX, The Washington Post, Penguin Random House, Nobrow and Octopus Books. In her spare time she writes autobiographical comics, with her story ‘Small Hours’ due to be released from Unbound next year.

  • Hairstyling

    Louise Galvin

    Top celebrity colourist and founder of her own luxury natural haircare range, Sacred Locks. Louise is based in her father’s famous Daniel Galvin Salon in London and has over 20 years’ experience in the haircare industry. She has coloured the hair of several fashion and beauty icons including Sophie Dahl, Samantha Cameron and Patsy Kensit.

  • Handmade Book

    Mike Abrahams

    Mike Abrahams is a designer, artist and athlete. His work is influenced by his travels from the UK to Nepal, Greece, Singapore, Tobago, Jordan and Senegal – creating logos and brands, making art and running. His artist books have been collected by the Tate and the V&A, his sculpture recently featured in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and he has represented Britain at the World Masters Athletics championships.

    Deb Rindl

    After years of office work, Deb Rindl escaped and ran off to Camberwell College of Arts to join the Graphics & Illustration BA course as a mature student. She creates artist’s books in small editions, mostly printed and made by hand, and notable for their “sculptural” quality.

  • Handmade Greetings Card

    Ellen Kirkhope

    Now working as an independent Senior Creative Consultant across a wide range of brands, Ellen formerly gained her experience as a Creative Director working within the prominent trend agency, WGSN. There she led an international team of designers in creating trend-led, commercial design work and creative editorial content for a global audience. She holds an honours degree in Graphic Design and has a love of print and illustration. Her past roles have included working for Nickelodeon, Disney and Paperchase.

    Melissa Hoffman

    Melissa is a textile designer and trends consultant who has worked for a variety of fashion and homewares companies, including illustrating cards for Tigerprint and Marks & Spencer.


  • Hip Hop, Rap and Grime

    Dr Richard Bramwell

    Richard is Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University. His research interests are primarily focused around the areas of black British popular and vernacular cultures. Richard’s book, UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City, was the first scholarly book on London’s rap cultures. Prior to joining Loughborough, in 2016, he was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where he convened the international hip hop studies conference, ‘It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at’. Richard’s current research focuses on the impact of rap performances in a range of contrasting organisations across England, including youth clubs, arts centres and prisons.

  • Instrumental Music

    Penny Driver

    Penny has had a versatile concert career. As a recitalist and chamber musician she has performed throughout the UK and in the USA. She was co-principal with Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and has had a long association with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, performing all over the world with such conductors as Valery Gergiev, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Simon Rattle.Penny teaches cello and chamber music at Wells Cathedral School, one of the UK’s four specialist music schools, from where her students frequently go on to win scholarships to the major conservatoires in London, Europe and USA. She is regularly invited to give Performance Classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and was for many years Professor of Cello at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.

    Clare Hammond

    Clare is an internationally recognised concert pianist who won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s ‘Young Artist Award’ in 2016. In the 2017/18 season she has performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Warsaw Philharmonic and, to date, has released seven discs with BIS, Sony and Signum Records. Her CD ‘Etude’ received unanimous critical acclaim for its “unfaltering bravura and conviction” (Gramophone Magazine) while the BBC Music Magazine stated this “this array of wizardry is not for the faint hearted”.

  • Life Story

    Shaun Attwood

    Shaun Attwood is a speaker, author and activist based in London, who is banned from America for life. As an inmate in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jail, he used a tiny pencil sharpened on a cell door to write the first prison blog, Jon’s Jail Journal. After winning a Koestler Award and getting on the Koestler Trust mentoring scheme, Shaun went on to publish 7 true crime books.

    Jane Corry

    Jane is a journalist and author of thrillers. She is published by Penguin Books and her last two novels My Husband’s Wife and Blood Sisters were Sunday Times best-sellers. Her new Penguin novel The Dead Ex comes out on June 28th. All are partly set in prison. She was also writer in residence at HMP Grendon and HMP Spring Hill for three years.

  • Longer Fiction and Novel

    Anthony Whittome

    As editorial director of Hutchinson and Random House UK for many years, Anthony published work by a range of well-known authors of fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

    Martha Whittome

    Martha is a qualified teacher with over ten years’ experience in literary arts administration, running the Poetry Book Society.


  • Matchsticks/Matchsticks & Mixed Media

    Andrew Wright

    Until recently, Andrew was Quality Assurance Manager at Republic Technologies (UK) Ltd. Having worked with a company that manufactured, and now sells, matches for over 30 years Andrew is very well qualified to judge the matchstick modelling categories. Andrew has judged the awards for a number of years and never ceases to be amazed at the time, effort and enthusiasm that is put into the entries.

  • Mixed Media

    Charles Darwent

    Charles was art critic of the Independent on Sunday from 1999-2013. He was also on the IMB at Pentonville for seven years. He is currently writing a biography of the Bauhaus artist, Josef Albers.

    Fiona Parry

    Fiona Parry is Programme Curator at Turner Contemporary. She has previously worked as a curator at the Science Museum, London; Cubitt Gallery and Studios, London; Nottingham Contemporary; and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin.

  • Mural and Wall Hanging

    Jessica Vaughan

    Jessica Vaughan is Curator of Art on the Underground, London Underground’s contemporary art programme, recent commissions include Heather Phillipson, Geta Brătescu, Daniel Buren, Marianna Simnett, David McDiarmid and Lily van der Stokker. Previously she has worked for a number of London’s leading not-for-profit arts organisations including Studio Voltaire, Tate Modern, The Showroom and Serpentine Gallery.

  • Music Composition

    Sam Swallow

    Sam Swallow is the keyboard player for indie pop rock band The Hoosiers. Their first single Worried About Ray reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart in July 2007. In October 2007, they released their debut album The Trick to Life, which reached number 1 in the album charts. He composes music for film and TV, as well as orchestrating and arranging for The 1975, Cast, Simple Minds and Amy Macdonald.

  • Needlecraft

    Jane Parvin

    Jane is a long-term supporter of the Koestler Trust, with personal connections to the needlework industry. Jane has been a Koestler Awards judge for almost 20 years.

    Fine Cell Work

    Sophie Rutherford is Production Coordinator at Fine Cell Work. Fine Cell Work enables prisoners to build fulfilling and crime-free lives by training them to do high-quality, skilled, creative needlework undertaken in the long hours spent in their cells to foster hope, discipline and self esteem.

  • Non-Fiction, Blog, Essay, Article and Review

    Fiona Chesterton

    Fiona Chesterton worked for more than 30 years in Television journalism, production and commissioning at the BBC and Channel 4. She was Controller of Adult Learning at the BBC. She co-edited ‘What Price Channel 4?’ in 2016 and has contributed to books on the BBC and a textbook on Broadcast Journalism. She also sits on the Education panel of the Royal Television Society. She is currently writing a book about a relative who emigrated to Canada in the early twentieth century.

    Lea Sellers

    Lea Sellers is a media trainer and communications consultant. She is co-founder of The Confidence People, helping people communicate with confidence when they speak in public or to the media. She moderates at the Emirates Airline Literary Festival and the British Library. Her background is in television news and current affairs where she was producer on Newsnight and Question Time for the BBC and Deputy Foreign Editor on Channel 4 News. She has a degree in Russian Studies, an MA in International Relations and an MA in Screenwriting. She also writes feature film scripts and plays.

    Sally Bibb

    Sally is an author and is the Founding Director of Engaging Minds, a consultancy firm which helps companies recruit and manage people in a strengths-based way ie. focusing on what’s working not what’s not working! She is the author of seven business books, two of which are on the subject of strengths. The latest: The Strengths Book: Discover How to Be Fulfilled in Your Work and Life was in October 2017. Sally and her team work in the public and private sectors for well-known organisations like Morrisons, the NHS, Saga and Starbucks. In this past year they have also worked in prisons and for the judiciary. Sally says “People are people, whoever they are and wherever they work. We all want to be valued for who we are and to do a worthwhile job”. Before setting up Engaging Minds Sally worked for The Economist magazine.


  • Painting

    Ki Yoong

    Ki Yoong is the Art Manager at The House of St Barnabas, a not-for-profit members’ club in the heart of Soho. The Collective, their art programme, captures the essence of the charity’s ethos of collaboration and its commitment to nurturing talent. Ki studied at Central Saint Martins, graduating with an MFA in Fine Art. As a practicing artist, he specialises in meticulously rendered drawing, working on private commissions and collaborating with clients including Paul Smith and 1 Granary Magazine.

    Charlotte Johnston

    I am interested in physical rhythms and structures within enclosed spaces and how gardens and specifically greenhouses, can be read as a metaphor for order. My paintings are derived from observational drawings and through mark making in oil paint and ink, I want to describe memories of these lush and humid atmospheres.

    Chila Kumari Burman

    Burman is a London-based artist who works in mixed media. She was born in Bootle, near Liverpool, the place he parents moved to when they left the Punjab in India. A prominent member of the Black British Art movement of the 1980s. Burman has explored politics, identity and representations of Asian women throughout her career. Her work is found in the collections of the British Council, Wellcome Trust, Victoria and Albert Museum and Tate.

    Lee Edwards

    Lee has exhibited internationally since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2005. Working mainly in the mediums of painting and drawing he has shown at PULSE Miami, Gimpel Fils and Domobaal gallery London. He is currently working towards a show at En Arts in Kyoto, Japan. Lee lives and works in London.

  • Pastel

    Angela Findlay

    Angela is a professional multi-media artist and former Arts Coordinator with the Koestler Trust. Working with materials ranging from mud and paint to cake, her work looks at everyday scenarios and historical stories, easily overlooked.

    Maciej Urbanek

    Maciej was born in 1979 in Kielce, Holy Cross Mountains in Poland. He currently lives and works between the UK and the USA. Prior to completing his postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools, he studied Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths College in London and Theory and Philosophy of Law at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. Maciej was awarded the Royal Academy Gold Medal in 2010. Since graduating from the Royal Academy Schools Urbanek has been exhibiting internationally and working independently as an artist and curator. He is also the Photography Tutor at Royal Academy Schools. In 2015 he organized critically acclaimed series of exhibitions entitled 10 One-Night Stands. The same year he received a prestigious ACE Award for Work of Art in Religious Context for his installation HS at St Michael’s Church in Camden, London. In December 2016 Maciej opened gallery URBANEK in South Dulwich.

  • Performance

    Cariad Lloyd

    Cariad Lloyd is a award winning comedian, actor, writer and improviser. She hosts the Griefcast, a podcast interviewing comedians about their experiences of death and grief, which recently won Podcast of the Year at the British Podcast Awards. She has appeared in Peep Show, Qi, Have I Got News For You and Murder in Successvile. She also appears  in Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, currently playing monthly at the Savoy Theatre in London.

  • Photography

    Joy Gregory

    Internationally renowned photographer who has been exhibiting and teaching in universities and art schools both in the UK and abroad for over 30 years.

    Amaal Said

    Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet based in London. Her photographs have been featured in Vogue, The Guardian and The New Yorker. She is concerned with storytelling and how best she can connect with people to document their stories. She won Wasafiri Magazine’s New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015.

    Robert Taylor

    Portrait photographer and artist Robert Taylor has published and exhibited widely over the last 30 years, with work in the collections of V&A, the National Portrait Gallery and several other permanent collections.

  • Poem

    Joelle Taylor

    Joelle is an award-winning poet, playwright and author who founded the national youth slams for the Poetry Society in 2001. Her books include Ska Tissue (2011), The Woman Who Was Not There (2014) and Songs My Enemy Taught Me (2017).Favourite poetry collection: Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

    Tim Dooley

    Tim Dooley’s collections of poems include The Sound We Make Ourselves (2016) and Weemoed (2017), both published by Eyewear. He was reviews editor for Poetry London from 2008 to 2017 and is a tutor for the Poetry School. He has also written about poetry and poets for the Times and the TLS.

  • Poetry Collection

    Caroline Hammond

    London-based Caroline Hammond is part of the LetterPress poetry collective and was published in their Anthology in 2015. She has read at the Aldeburgh Festival in 2016 and the South Downs Poetry Festival in 2017, where her poem, The Firetail, came second in the Festival’s competition and reads regularly at the Troubadour.

    Fiona Larkin

    Fiona was born in London to Irish parents, and started writing when her children left primary school. Her poems appear in journals including Magma, And Other Poems and Under the Radar, and anthologies such as Best New British and Irish Poets 2018 (Eyewear Publishing). She’s working on her first collection.

  • Portraits

    Jeremy Deller & Alan Kane

    Jeremy Deller is a Turner-prize winning artist. He has also represented Britain at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

    Alan Kane’s artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally. In addition, Alan has made works for television with Art Angel and for TfL’s Art on the Underground series.

    Alan and Jeremy’s collaborations include the Folk Archive, which gathers an array of objects alongside documentation of performances and events associated with Britain’s local folk culture. In addition, Alan and Jeremy have produced The Home Office collection of art from prisons, secure hospitals and young offenders institutions. This curatorial artwork included many artworks submitted into the Koestler Awards.

  • Printmaking

    Susan Aldworth

    Susan Aldworth is a visual artist who lives and works in London. She has a background in philosophy, and a strong interest in investigating the workings of the human mind. Aldworth has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally and her work is held in many public and private collections. She is an associate lecturer at Central Saint Martin’s, London.

    Gill Saunders

    Gill is a Senior Curator of Prints at the Victoria & Albert Museum. She has written a number of books on 20th Century and Contemporary Art.

  • Radio Play

    Katie Redford

    Katie is an actress/writer from Nottingham. In 2015, she won The BBC Norman Beaton Fellowship which resulted in her becoming part of The BBC Radio Drama Rep. She worked on an extensive amount of radio plays and now plays Lily Pargetter in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers. She also voices characters in BBC Radio 4’s Home Front and BBC Radio Comedy’s All Those Women. Her TV work includes Mount Pleasant (Sky 1), Young Hyacinth (BBC 1) and Still Open All Hours (BBC1) She writes for both stage and screen and has a TV comedy script optioned with Zeppotron, which also won The Comedy Project at Soho Theatre. She’s also just written and produced her first short film, starring Alison Steadman which will be screened in the summer of 2018.

  • Radio Production

    Dorothy Feaver

    Dorothy Feaver is a radio producer and editor. She has produced documentaries for BBC Radio 3, 4 and World Service.

    Chrystal Genesis

    Chrystal is a freelance producer and broadcast journalist. After working at the BBC for almost a decade – creating multi-platform content for Radio 4, 6 Music, BBC 1 and BBC World in London and Washington DC, she runs award-winning podcast, Stance, which explores arts, culture and current affairs from diverse global perspectives. She also works in artistic programming at Southbank Centre for contemporary music, comedy and performance.

    Bethany Clayton

    Beth is co-director of Boom Shakalaka productions, a multidisciplinary production company founded by award winning broadcaster Gemma Cairney. Boom makes radio, video, theatre and more. She worked in the music industry for ten years before turning to radio production and is also on the management team of music artist Nick Cave.

  • Sculpture

    Laurence Sillars

    Laurence Sillars is Head of Henry Moore Institute Programmes. Previously he was Chief Curator at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and has held similar roles at Tate Liverpool, the Arts Council Collection, Whitechapel Gallery and Chisenhale Gallery. He co-curated the Turner Prize in 2007 and 2012. He has contributed texts to a number of publications including Phaidon’s ‘Vitamin P’ and ‘Vitamin P2’ as well as writing and editing many volumes at BALTIC and Tate. He studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, was Research Fellow at Liverpool John Moores University from 2006-2007 and an External Examiner at the Royal College of Art from 2013-2016.

    Caroline Worthington

    Caroline has worked with artists throughout her career as a curator. As Chief Executive of Bexley Heritage Trust for six years, she ran two historic houses and introduced a contemporary art programme, featuring the work of artists including Gavin Turk, Laura Ford, and Joana Vasconcelos among others. Prior to that she was the Director of the Florence Nightingale Museum on London’s South Bank, where she raised funds and oversaw a complete redesign and re-launch in 2010.

    Tom Woolner

    Tom is a London-based artist, working predominately in sculpture and performance. His work has been featured in Frieze, Art Monthly, Modern Painters and The Guardian and he is the recipient of awards from Site Gallery, The Elephant Trust, The Danish Arts Council and Beck’s Futures.

  • Singer-songwriter – Original

    Rob Farhat

    Rob is the Talent Development & Jazz Programmes manager at Serious. He manages our suite of Talent Development programmes, for which we recruit both emerging and established artists to take time out to develop their careers and reach a wider audience. He is also responsible for programming emerging artists to perform at our annual EFG London Jazz Festival, which is the largest city-wide festival in London.

    Grace Lindley

    Grace is the Learning & Participation Coorindator at Serious, and has worked on a number of Serious’ outreach projects since beginning in the role in 2016. These include Saxophone Massive – a mass participation project for up to 200 saxophonists performing to audiences of local people and Pass it On, a scheme which brings outstanding artists into Pupil Referral Units in Leeds to lead workshops and inspire the next generation of artists. Prior to working at Serious, Grace worked at Paintings in Hospitals, assisting with all areas of a national visual arts charity, including fundraising and arts collection management.

    Katalin Milnes

    Katalin is Personal Assistant to Claire Whitaker OBE, who is one of the three directors at Serious. Alongside her administrative duties, Katalin is a professional musician, performing with her band Sloes at numerous venues such as The Roundhouse and Somerset House, alongside a host festivals including the of Isle of Wight Festival, Secret Garden Party and Boardmasters in Cornwall.

  • Songwriting

    Sarah Liversedge

    Sarah is a Director at three music publishing companies, winning Ivor Novello, BAFTA, RTS and Kerrang awards. Having started her career at the BBC, Sarah now develops the careers of unbeatable, innovative and creative artists, producers and songwriters, and last year received a Gold Badge Award from BASCA recognizing her hard work representing her composers and songwriter clients and furthermore protecting and nurturing their commercial catalogues.

  • Spoken Word

    Wanda Canton

    Wanda designs and delivers structured group courses and workshops exploring spoken word, performance and creative writing as tools to express or understand emotions and experiences, using language to create movement or space. She has worked with community projects including TedX, mental health services and secure forensic hospitals. As an artist she is inspired by jazz and rap and has been performing since 2011, including VFringe Festival and publication in the ICA.

  • Stage Play

    Synergy Theatre Project

    This year the Koestler Trust has partnered with Synergy Theatre Project to develop the Stage Play category. All Stage Play entries will be read and judged by a team of theatre professionals and ex-prisoners. Every entry will receive written feedback. The winners will be announced in September, followed by a prize-giving ceremony and a rehearsed reading in the autumn at a leading London theatre, and in the relevant prison if the 1st prize winner is a serving prisoner.

    Readers provided by Synergy: Hassan Abdullrazzak, Juliet Gilkes Romero, Kirsten Foster, Mark Williams, Penny Gold, Sonya Hale, Uju Enendu

  • Textile Art

    Enam Gbewonyo

    Enam is a multimedia textile artist, curator and founder of the Black British Female Artist Collective – a platform helping emerging female Diaspora artists build sustainable careers. She has worked with organisations like TEDxEuston, and Toronto’s, The Artist Project Fair and is currently part of the International Curator’s Forum (ICF) ‘Beyond the Frame’- a programme developing art professionals in the BAME community.

    Jessica Light

    One of the last working trimming weavers in the UK. Jessica designs, weaves and makes contemporary and innovative passementerie (trims and tassles) for interiors and fashion.

  • Themed Category: Connections

    Reggie Yates

    Reggie Yates is a British broadcaster, writer and director. He moved from children’s TV and acting in shows including Dr Who to making his own short films and presenting entertainment shows like The Voice. He currently makes documentaries for the BBC including the award-winning Extreme series in Russia, South Africa, the UK and Australia. In his The Insider series, Reggie spends time inside some of the world’s most brutal institutions including a Texan jail and he has just filmed in Iraq inside a migrant camp. By highlighting difficult issues affecting young people in different parts of the world, Yates particularly appeals to switched-on millennials. He also recently presented Special Forces Ultimate Hell Week, an endurance challenge where men and women are pushed beyond their limits by the world’s toughest special forces.

  • Watercolour

    Dinah Casson

    Dinah is a museum designer and teacher of design. She is a long-time supporter of the Koestler Trust and it’s work.

    Cullinan Richards

    Jeanine Richards and Charlotte Cullinan are an artistic duo producing work from traditional means. They are largely concerned with how the idea of ‘the exhibition’ can be a medium in itself. Internationally exhibited artists and professors of Fine Art at Kingston University, London.

  • Woodcraft

    Geoff Nunn

    Geoff left school at the age of 15 and trained in joinery and carpentry which led to a varied career including manufacturing, managament and teaching. He also taught at Highdown Prison.

    John Owen

    Left school at 15, and has had a wide-ranging carpentry and furniture making career, that has included shop fitting, building sites and panel work. He currently runs a company creating plywood chairs.

Looking round the entries to the Koestler Awards is like taking a tour through the collective subconscious. Here are the concerns, hopes and obsessions of thousands of people.

Grayson Perry, artist