Koestler Awards 2014

An Award-winning entrant writes:

“ I am now very keen to take my artwork to the next level which I would never have done if I hadn't won an award”


Escape with a Book | HMP Exeter, Highly Commended Award, Sculpture Doggie Diaries | HMP Styal, Mixed Media Bird Box | Blantyre House, Gold Award, SculptureFlowers for Leanne | HMP Edinburgh, Commended Award, Craft

Themed category

Have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler artform using the word 'dreams' as a theme. This year's theme was chosen by Olympic rowing champion Katherine Grainger CBE, who will also judge the category.


2 Fiction - A short story, collection of short stories, novel or part of a novel.
3 Essays, Blogs or Articles - One piece of writing on a factual subject as if written for a course, magazine, paper, biography or blog.
4 Life story - Any autobiographical prose, from 'My Life in 50 Words' to a full-length book.
5 Creative Response - A journal, essay, audio recording, video or sketchbook made in response to published fiction (short story, novel, poem), film, programme or exhibition. If the entrant is not a confident writer someone can scribe - certifying, at the bottom of the page, that it's the entrant's original work.
6 Magazines Up to three issues of a magazine or newsletter judged for overall quality of writing and communication.
7 Graphic novels - One full length graphic novel or up to 3 short comics, comic strips or one off cartoons, with drawing and/or text.
8 Braille
9 Achievement in English - 50 to 1,000 words of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by an entrant
who began writing English only in the last 12 months (and may or may not be a native English speaker). Must include a statement of eligibility signed by a teacher.
10 Poem - Please enter one poem as one entry. Up to 5 poems can be entered in total.
11 Poetry collection - 10 or more poems by one poet, arranged in a particular order with an overall title – in book or pamphlet form, or as if being submitted for publication. One entry per entrant in this artform.
12 Anthology - A volume of short stories, life stories and/or poems by a group of several offenders, detainees or secure patients, in book form or as if being submitted for publication.
13 Stage play - Script with stage directions - a short play, full-length play or part of one.
14 Radio play - Script with studio directions – a full-length drama or part of one.
15 Screenplay - Script with directions for TV or film.

Performance, Audio & Film

16 Songwriting - Lyrics for a song. Not including the musical score or any recorded element.
17 Radio production - CD recording of an original broadcast radio production or an edited compilation, e.g. spot/advert, documentary or interview. Up to 40 minutes.
18 Spoken text - Audio recording (CD or cassette) of a reading or performance of an existing or original text, eg. a play, speech, poem or story. Ideal for Story Book Dads. For our reference please state if the text is existing or original.
19 Off-the-cuff speaking - Audio or audio-visual recording (cassette, CD, video or DVD)
of any spontaneous or improvised speaking, eg. telling ghost stories, children's stories, jokes, traditional folklore or legends. Must not be read or memorised from a text.
20 Music composition
- A written score (not a recording) with or without lyrics. If lyrics are included, say whether or not they are original.
21 Choral music - A recording of a performance of choral music (by a group of singers). Please state whether the music and lyrics are original or existing.
22 Singer-songwriter - original - A recording of a performance by a musician or small group, that writes, composes and sings their own material including lyrics and melodies.
23 cover version - A recording of an individual or group performing an existing 'pop or rock' song. Your own interpretation of the song is encouraged.
24 Hip hop, rap, grime - A recording of a musician or small group performing their own material.
25 Instrumental music - A recording of a musician or small group performing their own or existing music with no lyrics. Please state whether the music is original or existing.
26 Computer generated music - A recording of original music generated entirely, or mostly, using computers. Please state whether the music is original or existing.
27 Drama - Video or DVD of a live performance of a play or musical (or part of one).
28 Dance - Video or DVD of a live dance performance.
29 Film - Dramatic or documentary film on video or DVD.
30 Animation - Animated film on video, DVD or CD. Special care should be taken to explain which elements were produced by professionals.

Visual Arts and Crafts

31 Painting - A painting mainly in oil, acrylic or tempera.
32 Watercolour - A painting mainly in watercolour or gouache.
33 Drawing - Pencil, charcoal, felt pen or ink.
34 Pastels - If possible, use fixative to prevent smudging.
35 Portraits - All portraits entered in other visual artforms will be entered here.
36 Mixed media - 2D work including collages, silk painting and use of unusual materials.
37 Digital image - Up to 5 images (with little or no text) produced or formatted by computer. May be sent as individual prints or in a portfolio or book, not on disc.
38 Sculpture - Abstract or representational form in the round or in relief made from any material. Items larger than 2' x 3' x 4' or heavier than 20kg must be delivered and collected by hand. Items made of clay should be entered in Ceramics.
39 Murals and wall -hangings
40 Hand-made books - A hand-made original or limited edition artist's book, containing visual artwork and/or text. The judges will be looking for creativity and artistry in the binding and content.
41 Calligraphy and Lettering - Hand-lettering of your own or others' words in any language. May include decoration and pictorial elements.
42 Printmaking - Block prints, etchings, lino prints, mono prints, screen prints, hand-printed wallpaper etc.
43 Hand-made greetings cards
44 Photography - Up to 10 photographs as individual prints, or in a portfolio or book. Any size or shape, colour or black-and-white. Slides and discs are not accepted. You may manipulate the images using software, but you must have taken the original photograph yourself.
45 Nature Photography - As for Photography above, except that the subject must be from the natural world and the image may not be manipulated.
46 Graphic design - A printed item with images and text which may be produced or formatted by computer, eg. a poster, leaflet, booklet, greetings card, sign, logo or up to 3 issues of a magazine. Judged for visual quality.
47 Web design - CD or DVD with print-out on paper.
48 Ceramics - A vase, plate, bowl or sculpture made from clay, fired and glazed.
49 Matchstick models - Must contain only matchsticks, uncoloured, with the underlying structure visible.
50 Matchstick & mixed media models - May be coloured and include other supporting materials.
51 Recycling or papier machÉ - Must be made from waste and must include notes of the materials used and how the item was made. Judges look for creative use of the specific materials and information on process. If the process is not described, consider entering into Sculpture.
52 Craft - Including toys, jewellery and mosaics.
53 Woodcraft - Emphasis on skills in joinery, veneering, marquetry, turning, carving, fine decoration. Metal and other materials may be added.
51 Furniture - Any material may be used. Items larger than 2' x 3' x 4' or heavier than 20 kg must be delivered and collected by hand.
55 Textile art - Weaving, macramé, machine embroidery, collage and wall-hangings. Flat or raised surface, in 2 or 3 dimensions.
56 Needlecraft - Knitting, crochet, needlepoint and any other items made by hand using needles or hooks. Include explanatory notes, preparatory sketches and any pattern used.
57 Soft furnishings - Including cushions, table linen, bed linen, bath linen and rugs. Include explanatory notes, preparatory sketches and any pattern used.
58 Fashion - Dress-making and tailoring. Include explanatory notes, preparatory sketches and any pattern used. (Enter jewellery under Craft.)
59 Hairstyling
60 Beauty - Including make-up, theatre make-up and nail art.

Project Work

61 Arts projects - A project with components that cover several Koestler Award artforms, created to engage people as artists, participants and audience. Your entry should include;

  • the aims of the project
  • the artforms involved
  • a documentation of the artistic outcomes(photos, DVD, audio, book, etc.)
  • the organisation/individual(s) that co-ordinated the project
  • an overview of who the participants/artists/audience were and the benefits of, or response to, the project (include quotes or figures).