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

  • Chip Night

    The Koestler East of England Exhibition

Visitors Kiss, HM Prison Peterborough, Commended Award for Mixed Media, 2017

Chip Night

The Koestler East of England Exhibition

Curated by Firstsite’s Young Art Kommunity (YAK)
10 Mar – 03 Jun 2018
Open daily, 10am – 5pm
Firstsite, Colchester
Entrance is free

Chip Night is an exhibition of artwork, writing and music from people in prisons, secure hospitals, and on community sentences in the East of England. It has been curated by young people from Firstsite’s Young Art Kommunity (YAK). They have brought together works around the broad theme of identity, having considered how the artists portray their own interests, emotions and situation. This exhibition looks to question our preconceptions of individuals within the criminal justice system.

Walking with Dinosaur, HM Prison Littlehey, Highly Commended Award for Painting, 2017

A different group or individual is invited to curate each Koestler Trust exhibition, giving every show a unique look and voice. For Chip Night, YAK volunteered to take on this challenge. The project involved workshop sessions where YAK learnt about curating and engaged with a range of artwork, writing and music before carefully considering hundreds of entries to the 2017 Koestler Awards from the East of England region. By looking through these works, they considered the realities of life inside, and discussed why people might make art in prison or other secure settings.

Working with Koestler has been a really cool process that allowed us to develop as young curators through putting together this collection of artwork around our chosen theme of identity. Through this we explored things like who people are and what they feel, which sparked interesting conversations among us as a group – hopefully it will open up some amongst the viewers too.

Curator, Young Art Kommunity

YAK Curators Tours

Find out more about the Koestler Trust and the artwork on display. The tour will be led by members of the Young Art Kommunity (YAK) group and will be accompanied by the Koestler Trust.

After the Storm, HM Prison Warren Hill, Painting, 2017

Sat. 28 April 11.30am
Sat. 19 May 11.30am

Free, but booking is essential. Further information and tickets available at reception at Firstsite or online at


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