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

  • Events

  • Events

Upcoming Events

Open House London

Saturday 22 September 2018
Koestler Arts Centre
168A Du Cane Road, W12 0TX
10am – 5pm
Free entrance

We are delighted to be participating in Open House London 2018. Our headquarters in the former governor’s house at the gates of HM Prison Wormwood Scrubs in East Acton will be opening its doors to the public.

Artworks from the 52 categories in this year’s Koestler Awards will be for sale throughout our three-storey building. Come to see paintings, sculptures, textile art, ceramics and much more from prisons, detention centres and secure hospitals across the country.

This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the thousands of artworks entered each year to our annual Award Scheme which have not been selected for our exhibition at Southbank Centre, as well as a selection of artworks from previous years, including the platinum award-winning painting from the first Koestler Awards in 1962.

This will be one of the first chances to buy unique and original artworks from the 2018 Koestler Awards.

We hope to see you there!


I’m Still Here: Synergy Theatre Project

Light from Art in a Dark Place, HM Prison Hull, Silver Award for Painting 2017

Synergy presents performances of 2018 Koestler Award winning stage play extracts

Wednesday 3 October 2018, 2:30pm
Royal Court Theatre
Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS

A showcase of extracts from three new plays from across the UK which were read and judged by a panel of theatre professionals and ex-prisoners.

The event is free but please RSVP by 5pm Monday 1 October 2018 to or call 020 366 6730

Voices from Prison

AAAARGH!!, Bolton Probation Office, mixed media on board, 2018

Wednesday 24 October 2018, 7.30pm
Royal Festival Hall, Blue Room, Level 1
Book tickets >here

An evening of performed music and writing from the 2018 Koestler Awards, part of London Literature Festival.

Come and hear some of the unique and diverse work entered into this year’s Awards Scheme, including work that has not been included in our Southbank Centre exhibition, I’m Still Here.

More information >here