An update from Koestler Arts in response to the impact of Covid-19

Read more


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

Don't look back in anger, HM Prison Peterborough, Gold Award for Mixed Media, 2017

Koestler Associates

The Associates Programme

My Crew, Oakhill Secure Training Centre, Arts Society Cambridge Under 18s Special Award, 2017

In 2016 we launched a members scheme for our entrants. The programme is open to all Koestler Awards entrants, who  benefit from greater contact with the Trust through newsletters with information about events and exhibitions, interviews with judges, and tips for creating new work.

Our Associates help us spread the word about the Awards scheme within their establishments, and act as ambassadors for Koestler Arts. We are always trying to encourage more applicants, and the Associates have been a great help.

Entrants can elect to become Associates when they enter the Awards, or by writing to us directly.