We are the UK's best-known prison arts charity. We have been awarding, exhibiting and selling artworks by offenders, detainees and secure patients for over 50 years.
Our awards receive over 8,000 entries a year - inspiring offenders to take part in the arts, work for achievement and transform their lives. Our national exhibition attracts 20,000 visitors - showing the public the talent and potential of offenders and people in secure settings.
We have no endowment or capital - our work depends entirely on donations. More
“Now I see myself as an artist, as opposed to an offender”
The Koestler Trust is proud to present an independent evaluation into the effectiveness of the arts mentoring programme for former prisoners by Dr Leonidas Cheliotis. Read more about the report.
Please follow the link to view the full-length film by Julian Langham.
On 24th March 2015 to mark the end of his 9 years as Chief Executive of the Koestler Trust and 5 years as Chair of the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice, Tim Robertson gave a lecture during which he shared his personal cultural reflections on the arts and criminal justice.
Applications for the 2015 Koestler Awards are now open. This year’s themed category is ‘Journey’. Click here to read more.
We've received over 8,700 entries - more than ever before – to the 2014 Koestler Awards. We need your help to give out as many awards as possible. So please support us and recognise the talent and achievement of our artists by Naming an Award.
Since 2007, we have supported ex-offenders to continue with their artistic activities by matching them with a specially trained arts mentor. We now have two ways in which we offer support to a wide range of people who have been involved in the criminal justice system who would like to develop their interest in the arts.
Find out more about mentoring and how to apply
Entrants to the Koestler Awards who are under 18 can enter for our Fast Feedback Programme. This offers a faster turnaround and additional Koestler awards for young people.
If the artwork that has been entered has been made as part of an Art Award project you will also be considered for the 'Arts Award Achievement Prize'
Find out more the Under 18's Fast Feedback Programme
If you'd like to receive news on forthcoming exhibitions, Art Sales and projects please sign up for our mailing list.
This year we received a record-breaking number of entries to the Koestler Awards – 8,789 pieces of writing, music, film, fine art and design, with some Under 18s Fast Feedback entries still being received! Each entrant will receive a Participation Certificate in recognition of their hard-work and motivation. We also aim to give 80% of entrants written feedback on their work. Congratulations to all entrants on their achievement!
Award-winners are listed here, anonymously, by establishment (pdf).
New Chief Executive announced
“I am thrilled to become the CEO of the Koestler Trust following on from Tim Robertson’s remarkable time at this very special and courageous charity. Tim, supported by the Board and the team, has moved the Koestler forward with huge integrity and drive, and I am greatly looking forward to taking up the reins and working with such a committed group in the Trust and its supporters on the next stage of the charity’s development.”
The Koestler Trust is now on Soundcloud. Feel free to share these great tracks and leave your feedback.