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

Am I Laughing, or Am I Screaming Inside?, HM Prison Lewes, Mixed Media, 2017
Antony Gormley in the Koestler Arts Centre, 2017


Art by offenders, secure patients and detainees from the 2017 Koestler Awards

21 Sep – 15 Nov
Open daily, 10am – 11pm
Level 1, Royal Festival Hall
Entrance is free

Antony Gormley, the renowned artist, curates an exhibition showcasing artworks produced in the UK’s prisons, secure hospitals and immigration removal centres, and by ex-offenders in the community.

This year’s show responds to the theme ‘Inside’ set by Gormley with input from prisoners, and aims to get people talking about the UK’s criminal justice system.

The artworks are selected from over 7,000 pieces of fine art, design, writing and music entered to this year’s Koestler Awards.

This exhibition contains themes that some visitors may find distressing, parental discretion is advised for younger visitors.

Take a look at a few pieces from the show here

Exhibition events

20 Sep, 2pm Exhibition Launch
11 Oct, 6pm Inside: with curator Antony Gormley
16 Oct, 7pm Voices from Prison
28 Oct, 2pm Shared Reading with The Reader
8 Nov, 7pm Meet the Koestler Trust

Exhibition tours

Join one of our exhibition tours, led by ex-offenders hosts trained by the Koestler Trust.

Mon – Thu 1.30pm & 6pm
Fri – Sun 1.30pm, 4pm & 6pm

Free, no booking required

Koestler Pop-Up Art Shop

A chance to buy unique artworks entered into the Koestler Awards (with a donation to Victim Support), as well as Koestler merchandise.

Sat & Sun 11am – 8pm

Exhibition closures

The exhibition is closed for private events 5pm – 10pm on the following dates:


Sep Wed 27
Oct Tue 3, Mon 9, Tue 17, Thu 19, Mon 23


Exhibition Partner:

Exhibition Supporters: