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 7,000 entries a year – inspiring offenders to take part in the arts, work towards positive achievements 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.

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  • I'm Still Here

Lucy, HM Young Offenders Institution Cookham Wood, Lord Ramsbotham Under 25s Special Award for Portrait 2018

I’m Still Here

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

Coming Clean, HM Prison Littlehey, Wilmot & Cane First-Time Entrant Award for Sculpture 2018

Curated by prisoners’ families

19 Sep – 4 Nov 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.

> Click here to see a selection of the artworks in the show.

Read a selection of poetry from the exhibition > here (PDF)

Unilink Visitors’ Choice Awards

The powerful writing, music and fine art exhibited in I’m Still Here moved thousands of people. This Christmas we are forwarding on 5,096 notes of appreciation, written by visitors while voting on their favourite works, to the artists who made them.

We’ve also given additional awards, supported by Unilink, to the pieces that received the most ‘votes’. The four artworks immediately below in the gallery have won Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze Visitors’ Choice Awards.