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

General Manager

£25,000 pro-rata, 25h/week

The Koestler Trust is the UK’s best-known prison arts charity. We’ve been awarding, exhibiting and selling artwork by offenders, secure patients and detainees since the charity was founded in 1962. The Koestler Trust plays a unique national role in encouraging offenders to take part and achieve in the arts and is known for its ground-breaking work using the arts as a catalyst for positive change in the lives of offenders, and in the public’s perception of them. We are committed to raising the profile of offender art and encouraging discussion about the contribution it makes to contemporary culture.

The Trust is based outside HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs in West London, where the small and friendly team co-ordinates and promotes the annual awards scheme, three exhibitions a year with an associated events programme, publications, a mentoring programme, sales of visual artwork and fundraising.

We are looking for an enthusiastic & experienced General Manager to ensure the efficient administration of the Koestler Trust and to manage the day-to-day functioning of the Koestler office, especially telephone and IT enquiries, mailings, record-keeping, database, Health and Safety, formal procedures and policies, and Board administration.

To apply, complete and return the application form (below). Please read the full job description, with particular attention to the person specification, and further information on our work from our website (or contact us for printed materials if you have no internet access). Do not submit a CV or any other enclosures.  We will assess your application solely on the information given in this application form.

Applications from ex-offenders are positively encouraged.

Deadline: Noon – Monday 27 February 2017

Interviews: 10 March 2017

> download job description

> download application form

Volunteer Mentors for Ex-Prisoners (Visual Arts)

We are looking for visual artists based in the North East, Wales, and the North West, to volunteer as Arts Mentors.

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.

Deadline: Thursday 2nd March 2017

Interviews: Wednesday 15th, and Thursday 16th March

Read: 

> Koestler Mentoring FAQ document

> Mentor person specification

> Mentoring project information

Complete and return:

> Koestler Mentor Application Form

Volunteer Mentors for Ex-Prisoners (Music)

We are looking for musicians and music industry professionals to volunteer as Arts Mentors.

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.

Deadline: Monday 13th March 2017

Interviews: Friday 24th March 2017

Read: 

> Koestler Mentoring FAQ document

> Mentor person specification

> Mentoring project information

Complete and return:

> Koestler Mentor Application Form

Arts Team Volunteers

Our Arts Team is looking for several enthusiastic and rigorous volunteers to assist with the processing of thousands of entries to the Koestler Awards.

We run annual awards which structure our team’s calendar. This means that our responsibilities change throughout the year as we process entries (beginning of March), facilitate judging, write feedback, curate and put up exhibitions, run events and finally return artwork to the entrants (December to February). Volunteers will have an opportunity to experience a number of different roles and activities but these will be dependent on the time frame that they spend with us.

We need volunteers who can work independently and can follow our procedures in order to process the entries efficiently and reliably and play a crucial part in our team. Currently main duties will include organising, packaging and processing artworks entered in the 2016 awards ready to be returned to their establishments. Other duties may include: aiding preparation for regional exhibitions, organising documents for mail-outs, helping with de-installation of exhibitions and displays. Volunteers will gain experience of working in a dynamic team and handling artwork, as well as having an opportunity to see the exciting and diverse range of writing, fine art and design pieces we receive.

Volunteers present during weekly meetings will be welcome to attend, as these meetings will provide an insight into the running of a small prestigious arts organization.

Ideally, volunteers would be able to commit to a period of 2 months, usually 2 – 4 days a week (weekdays). However, volunteers are a highly valued part of our team and we will try to accommodate those with less availability.  We will reimburse travel and lunch expenses.

Applications from ex-offenders are positively encouraged.

Skills and experience needed

      • Accuracy – you need to sustain accuracy while processing large volumes of work at a time.
      • Physical dexterity – to handle fragile artwork in many shapes and sizes following health and safety procedures.
      • Commitment to the Koestler Trust’s guidelines health & safety and equal opportunities policies.
      • An interest in one or several of the art forms represented in the Trust’s work – an interest in the work will keep things lively for you.
      • Support for the aims of the Koestler Trust – we want our volunteers to get as involved as they can in our work and to enjoy promoting participation in the arts by offenders, secure patients and detainees.

What to do next

If you are interested in this voluntary role please complete the Volunteer Application Form (Word) and email or post it with a brief covering letter, outlining your interest in the role and availability as well as your CV to fschneider@koestlertrust.org.uk or Fina Schneider, Koestler Trust, 168a Du Cane Rd, London W12 0TX