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

Small Paper Teddy Bear, HM Prison Stafford, 2015

Craft and Design

Many entries to the craft and design categories of the Koestler Awards have been produced as gifts for friends or family, or as part of coursework for qualifications. Others, such as Matchstick Models, are produced as a specialist hobby, using specially purchased matchsticks bought from the prison ‘canteen’. There are restrictions on tools and materials in secure settings, which limit and challenge the makers to think outside the box.

Koestler Awards craft and design artforms include:

  • Handmade Book
  • Calligraphy
  • Handmade Greetings Card
  • Graphic Design
  • Matchstick Model
  • Craft
  • Woodcraft
  • Furniture
  • Needlecraft
  • Fashion
  • Hairstyling
  • Beauty

> View Craft and Design Gallery