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

2017 UK Exhibition

Curator – Antony Gormley

The 2017 UK Exhibition – ‘Inside’ – will be curated by internationally renowned artist Antony Gormley. He will select writing, performance, visual art and design for the show from entries to the 2017 Koestler Awards. The free exhibition will be open at Southbank Centre, London from 21 September to 15 November.

The opening festival will be held on the afternoon of 20 September – for updates join our mailing list

Antony Gormley, Angel of the North (Gateshead), 1998. Photograph by Jerry Hardman Jones. Copyright the artist

Antony Gormley, Angel of the North (Gateshead), 1998. Photograph by Jerry Hardman Jones. Copyright the artist


For the first time, we’re inviting entrants to the  Awards to help shape the exhibition by responding to a theme. After feedback from our entrants and prison education staff, Antony has chosen the theme ‘Inside.’

The works can be about your situation now, a cherished dream or a terrible nightmare. Dark or bright, hopeful or despairing, strong or fragile, large or small and in any medium – from a small piece of paper to a sound work, from drawing to model making, film to calligraphic poetry – please help make this exhibition a bold testament to what is happening inside of you.

Sir Antony Gormley

Artist’s Packs

We’ve produced Artist’s Packs for 2017 Awards entrants, to help inspire responses to the exhibition theme and give more background on Antony’s own artwork. Establishments and entrants can request printed copies from or download here.

Take Part

Antony would like to hear about artworks in progress. If you’re working on a submission for the 2017 Awards in response to ‘Inside’, please contact us to find out how you can take part in the conversation.