Each year the Koestler Trust holds exhibitions and events across the UK. We do this to showcase the talent and potential of ex-offenders to the public – causing many people to reconsider negative stereotypes. Each exhibition covers the range of Koestler artforms and include publications and events.
Very insightful to get into the minds of those society forgets about and neglects. Art is universal, this exhibition proves that.
Annual UK exhibition
The annual UK exhibition, in partnership with London’s Southbank Centre, includes entries to the year’s Koestler Awards from across the UK, and from British prisoners abroad. The programme includes talks, performances, exhibited artist family days, pop-up shop and tours. In recent years, the UK exhibition has been presented to the public by ex-offender hosts, specially trained and recruited to lead tours and answer questions about the artwork and criminal justice system.
Each year we take a new approach to the curation, in order to bring new perspectives to the selection and interpretation of the work. Curators are given the opportunity to choose work from all the Koestler artforms, irrespective of what was selected for Awards by the judging panels. This allows our curators to put their own stamp on the exhibitions, and it also recognises the subjective nature of judging artwork – meaning if you don’t win an Award you may still be selected for exhibition. Past curators have included the artist Sarah Lucas, rapper Speech Debelle, victims of crime, serving female prisoners and graduates of our mentoring programmes.
Exhibition programmes across the UK
We also hold two or three local exhibitions across the UK each year, involving local groups and artists in shaping the content. These local exhibitions allow more entrants’ families to see the output and seek to engage the artists’ local communities.
Local exhibitions feature entries to the year’s Koestler Awards from the local area, and performances and talks by local artists. Each programme looks to open up new debate and perspectives on the work. Exhibition curators have included local youth offending teams, serving prisoners, secure children’s homes, artists and people on probation. Exhibition programmes have been held in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.
We work in partnership with host venues to create these ambitious programmes, and look for local and national funders to support their production.