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

  • I'm Still Here

Lucy, HM Young Offenders Institution Cookham Wood, acrylic on canvas 2018

I’m Still Here

Art by ex-offenders, secure patients and detainees, entered into the 2018 Koestler Awards.

Curated by prisoners’ families

19 Sep – 4 Nov 2018
Royal Festival Hall
10am – 11pm daily
Please note that the Royal Festival Hall will be closed on Sunday 23 September

Coming Clean, HM Prison Littlehey, soap carving 2018

What’s it like having a loved-one in prison? I’m Still Here is an exhibition of artwork entered into the 2018 Koestler Awards for arts in criminal justice, selected by families supporting someone inside. Each family has selected artworks that speak to them, and that illustrate their experiences. Their exhibition features the diverse range of art, writing and music being created by prisoners, secure patients and detainees, as well as people on community sentences, across the UK.

I’m Still Here is the 11th exhibition produced in partnership with Southbank Centre, and follows last year’s exhibition Inside, curated by Antony Gormley.

Working alongside Southbank Centre exhibition hosts to welcome visitors and invigilate the exhibition, are ex-prisoners specially recruited, trained and employed by the Koestler Trust. As well as gaining valuable work experience and new skills, the hosts will offer first-hand insight on how the arts reflect and transform the lives of those in secure and criminal justice settings.

Events Programme

Opening Festival with The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

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

18 September, from 2pm
Royal Festival Hall, Clore Ballroom, Level 2
There will be performances, the Pop-up Koestler Art Shop and exhibition tours led by our ex-prisoner hosts
Free, no booking necessary

Voices from Prison

24 October, 7pm
An evening of spoken word and poetry

Pop-Up Koestler Art Shop

In the exhibition space daily

Exhibition tours

Led by ex-prisoner hosts
Monday to Thursday 6pm
Friday to Sunday 1.30pm and 6pm
Free, no booking required