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
Free

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.

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

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

Exhibition closures

Closed all day: Tuesday 16 October

Closed from 5pm – 9pm: Monday 8 October, Wednesday 10 October, Tuesday 30 October, Wednesday 31 October

Events Programme

Opening Festival

with The Rt Hon David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

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

18 September, from 2pm
Royal Festival Hall, Clore Ballroom, Level 2
Free, no booking necessary

We are launching the exhibition with performances by Vox Liminis, the Pop-up Koestler Art Shop and exhibition tours led by our ex-prisoner hosts

More information > here

Voices from Prison

Wednesday 24 October, 7.30pm
Royal Festival Hall, Blue Room, Level 1
Book tickets > here

An evening of performed spoken word pieces and poetry from the 2018 Koestler Awards, part of London Literature Festival.

More information > here

Pop-Up Koestler Art Shop

In the exhibition space daily 12 noon – 7.30pm (closed during tours)

Exhibition tours

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