Unlock the talent inside

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique, national role in motivating prisoners, secure hospital patients and immigration detainees to take part in the arts. The Koestler Awards are simple and powerful – we reward achievement, build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised people.

Our work harnesses the uniquely transformative power of the arts to help individuals learn the skills and gain the confidence to live creative, positive and productive lives. Each year we receive more than 7,000 entries from over 3,500 entrants across the UK in 52 categories. More than 2,000 Awards are granted by over 100 esteemed judges, and each year culminates in a curated exhibition at Southbank Centre which showcases the incredible power of the arts to transform lives.

Read more about us

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

Jobs & volunteering

Current opportunities:

> digital and communications officer
> arts team volunteers
> volunteer arts mentors for ex-prisoners

Digital and Communications Officer

Full time, £24,500 per annum

Closing date: 9am Thursday 2 May 2019
Interviews: Wednesday 15 May 2019

An excellent opportunity has arisen to join the Development Team of this unique, London based prison arts charity. As the new Digital & Communications Officer, you will work with the Director of Development on developing and implementing the communications strategy and help to coordinate the charity’s messages that are disseminated publicly across our digital channels.

The post holder will lead and develop our social media presence, write and coordinate regular e-communications and website content and ensure accuracy and consistency. You will also be responsible for monitoring and reporting on the website analytics and reach of the website and social media platforms.

The Digital & Communications Officer will also support the Development Team to deliver Individual Giving Campaigns and drive the digital fundraising of the Charity and feed directly into other fundraising activities across the year.

An energetic, self-motivated team player, you will have excellent organisational and communication skills and be both accurate and thorough. It is essential that you are able to remain calm whilst working under pressure and adhering to tight and demanding deadlines and also possess the confidence to interact with people at all levels. Most importantly, you will be a resilient, determined and passionate individual – with the ability to articulate the vision of the Koestler Trust to build lasting and fruitful relationships with public audiences and supporters.

How to apply:

>> Download and read the Digital and Communications Officer Job Description
>> Complete and return the Application form – Digital and Communications Officer

The closing date is 9am Thursday 2 May 2019.


Arts Team Volunteers

Our Arts Team is always on the look-out for enthusiastic and rigorous volunteers to assist with the processing of thousands of entries to the Koestler Awards.

The Trust runs annual awards that structure our team’s calendar, meaning that our responsibilities change throughout the year. The Arts Team process entries (beginning in March), facilitate judging, write feedback, curate and install exhibitions, run events and finally return artworks to the entrants (November to March). Volunteers will have an opportunity to experience numerous different roles and activities depending on the period that they spend with us. Our main project at the moment is logging artworks received in the 2019 Awards cycle, alongside a smaller amount of tasks.

We need volunteers who can work independently and can follow our procedures to process the entries efficiently and reliably. Volunteers will gain experience in a dynamic team, getting a privileged behind-the-scenes look at the exciting and diverse range of writing, music, fine art and design pieces we receive. They will also gain an insight into the running of a small prestigious arts organisation.

Ideally, volunteers would be able to commit to a period of 3 months, usually 1 – 3 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 expenses within London.

Skills and experience needed:
• Accuracy – you need to sustain accuracy while logging 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 policies such as health & safety, confidentiality, and equal opportunities.
• 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 all offenders, secure patients and detainees.

What to do next…

If you are interested in this voluntary role please complete the Volunteer Application Form and email or post it with a brief covering letter, outlining your interest in the role and availability as well as your CV to info@koestlertrust.org.uk or Lucie Bright, Koestler Trust, 168a Du Cane Rd, London W12 0TX. Please note that we aim to respond to all applications within 4 weeks. We look forward to hearing from you.

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 of England and the Midlands.

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