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 55 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 opportunities:

> feedback volunteers (part time, voluntary – occasional days)

> arts team volunteers (part time, voluntary, regular rota)

> volunteer arts mentors for ex-prisoners (part time, voluntary)

 


Feedback Volunteers

We are looking for volunteers to write feedback on the many thousands of creative entries to the 2018 Koestler Awards.

Each year, as well as sending certificates to all Koestler Awards entrants, we also send feedback on thousands of pieces of fine art, music, writing, craft and film. Koestler Awards entrants tell us the feedback they receive on their work is one of the most important parts of the awards experience. Feedback can boost confidence, and provides entrants with expert advice on how to develop their work. With the help of lots and lots of volunteers over the summer months, we aim to give written feedback to all entrants.

Last year we hosted Feedback Fridays – a designated day for Feedback Volunteers. This gives volunteers an opportunity to see all the work together and an opportunity to meet one another. We will run these sessions throughout July and August and ask for a minimum of half-a-days commitment (usually volunteers arrive at 10am and leave at 4pm). The sessions are all held at the Koestler Arts Centre in West London W12 0TX, close to East Acton tube station (central line) and various bus routes. Parking can be arranged. Here are the sessions available:

Friday 3rd August
Friday 10th August
Friday 17th August
Friday 24th August
Friday 31st August

If you would like to book onto one of these sessions or would like more information, please email info@koestlertrust.org.uk. If you are unable to make a Friday but would like to write feedback do let us know and we will try our best to accommodate.

 


Arts Team Volunteers Needed

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 in 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 dependent on the period that they spend with us. Our current project involves unwrapping and processing the approx 8000 pieces of art we have received for the 2018 Awards.

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. Volunteers will gain experience of working in a dynamic team and handling artwork, and will have a privileged ‘behind the scenes look’ at the exciting and diverse range of writing, fine art and design pieces we receive. They will gain an insight into the running of a small prestigious arts organisation.

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.

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 (.doc) and email or post it with a brief covering letter, outlining your interest in the role and availability as well as your CV to MAnstis@koestlertrust.org.uk or Matt Anstis, 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 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.

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

Complete and return:
> koestler mentor application form