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

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Evidence Library

The Arts of Desistance

“Now I see myself as an artist, as opposed to an offender”
Koestler mentee.

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.

Koester Awards 2015 Koestler Awards 2015

Applications for the 2015 Koestler Awards are now open. This year’s themed category is ‘Journey’. Click here to read more.

Submission deadline: 14 April 2015. Click here for poster, guidance and entry form. Large text versions also available.

Double Take Double Take

The Koestler Exhibition for the North West

mac birmingham
17 January – 1 March 2015
Daily 10am–9pm, Free entry

Read on →

Name an award Support us
by naming a Koestler Award

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.

Ocean of DespairMENTORING

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

A PrayerUnder 18's fast feedback programme

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.

Koeslter Awards Koestler Awards 2014 UK Results

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).


Tim Robertson

Tim Robertson is moving on

After nearly 9 years in the role, Tim Robertson is stepping down as the Koestler Trust’s Chief Executive. He will remain in post until March 2015 or his successor is appointed.

Tim says: “I’m very proud of what the Koestler Trust has achieved in the last few years, and I feel sad to be leaving such a fantastic charity. But after nearly 9 years, I’ve come to realise that I need a new challenge – it’s time for me to go - and I feel the Trust needs someone fresh to lead its next stages of growth.”

Koestler Trust chair of trustees Dame Anne Owers says: “Tim has brought about remarkable growth at the Koestler Trust, and we will miss him greatly. While we press ahead with finding his successor, we will also be marking Tim’s departure with a public event in the new year, when he will give his reflections on arts and criminal justice from his experience, and when we can all thank and give him best wishes for the future.”

Books in prisons:
public statement

We share some of the concerns that colleagues in other charities and the arts have expressed about recent changes to "Incentives and Earned Privileges" for prisoners.
Read our full statement

The Koestler Trust has won an RSPH Award

The Koestler Trust is now on Soundcloud. Feel free to share these great tracks and leave your feedback.

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