The art awards scheme for offenders, secure patients and detainees

We’re the UK’s best-known prison arts charity. We’ve 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.

Read more about us

Koestler Host at the RE:FORM Art By Offenders, Secure Patients And Detainees Exhibition, Southbank Centre, 2015

Jobs & volunteering

Current vacancies:


Director of Development

In the region of £40,000 p.a.

The Koestler Trust is Britain’s leading prison arts charity, exhibiting and supporting artistic achievement by offenders, detainees and secure patients. It is small but very influential and innovative; its work and reach has grown significantly over recent years, supported by leading artists, government departments and a wide range of donors.

This is an opportunity for an outstanding candidate to enhance the development work of the Trust through the next stage of its growth, building on its successes and working with a strong staff team.

You will need to be an excellent and collaborative development professional and team player, with lead responsibility for the Trust’s fundraising. You do not have to be an expert in arts or criminal justice, but to understand and communicate the impact of the arts on the lives of offenders and detainees to those with whom the Trust works.

Joining our committed and friendly team of 12, based outside HMP Wormwood Scrubs, you will work closely with our Chief Executive and be a key member of the senior management team.  Above all, you will enjoy your leading role in taking a unique and dynamic arts charity through the next stages of its extraordinary growth.

Please click here for the Job Description.

We are happy to discuss flexible working to meet the demands of this managerial role.

Applications must be made on the Application form

Do not send a CV or any other enclosures.

Closing date for applications: Noon, Monday 12th March
Interviews: Thursday 22nd March


Mentoring Co-ordinator (12 month contract)

£23,000 p.a. pro-rata

The Koestler Trust’s Outreach & Involvement Department works to engage our entrants in the wider aspects of our work and to assist and encourage them to further develop their artistic skills. Our Arts Mentoring scheme is the Outreach Department’s flagship project.

The Mentoring Co-ordinator’s role is to manage our Mentoring Scheme which aims to support offenders to use the arts as a tool to drive their resettlement. Alongside the Director of Outreach and supported by our Outreach Administrator you will be responsible for helping to develop and deliver the scheme, which sees talented offender artists matched with professionals in the field to help them develop their artistic practice. You will work closely with our mentors and mentees, offering support to both parties and ensuring that targets for volunteer recruitment and matches are met. Ideally you will have experience of working directly with volunteers in a supporting role.

Managed by our Director of Outreach, you will also help plan, prepare and deliver the wide range of outreach projects that the Trust organises around both its UK National and out of London Exhibitions, with the purpose of engaging offenders in our work, assisting them in reaching their potential and to help them celebrate their achievements. This work (1 day/week of the role) will involve the post holder in working with other members of the Koestler team to deliver the Trust’s participation projects.

Could this be the new and exciting challenge that you are looking for? The successful candidate will join our committed and friendly team of 12. We especially encourage applicants from ex-offenders and people from minority ethnic groups, who are under-represented in our team. All applications will be considered on merit. A standard disclosure check will be required for the successful candidate.

Deadline: 9am, Friday 23rd February 2018
Interviews: Wednesday 28th February 2018

> mentoring co-ordinator – job description

Complete and Return:
> mentoring co-ordinator – application form

Volunteer Arts Mentors for Ex-Prisoners

We are looking for artists, creative writers, musicians, and arts industry professionals, to help support our mentoring scheme. We are particularly interested in hearing from applicants based in the North West of England, and South Wales.

The Koestler Trust is the UK’s leading prison arts charity. We’ve been awarding, exhibiting, selling, and championing art by prisoners, secure patients & immigration detainees for over 50 years.

Through our arts mentoring programme, The Koestler Trust identifies and supports prisoners with talent and enthusiasm, helping them to harness their creativity in a way which can make a positive difference to their resettlement.

Mentors work one-to-one with ex-offenders, offering between 7 and 10 mentoring sessions over a 12-month period. We provide full training and support, but the role is largely an autonomous one and we are looking for mentors who can bring their own energy and expertise to the role.

Applications from ex-offenders are positively encouraged.

We accept applications for this role on a rolling basis.

> mentoring – frequently asked questions
> mentoring – person specification
> mentoring – project information

Complete and return:
> koestler mentor application form