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

My Journey Inside: From There to Eternity, HM Prison Edinburgh, Bronze Award for Painting, 2017


The Koestler Scotland Exhibition, curated by Jenni Fagan
10 Nov – 22 Dec 2017
Upper Foyer, Tramway, Glasgow
Open Daily, 12pm – 6pm

Narrative is an exhibition of artwork, writing and music from prisons, secure hospitals, secure children’s homes, and community justice services across Scotland.

The display has been curated by acclaimed Scottish author and poet Jenni Fagan and features up to 180 works entered from Scotland into the 2017 Koestler Awards.  The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, needlecraft, nail art, printmaking, woodcraft, audio, animation and writing.

Some of the work is phenomenal, this will be a really compelling exhibition. The chance to practise art should be available to everyone in the prison system, it can be a vital part of their rehabilitation.

Jenni Fagan, Curator

Jenni Fagan’s 2012 debut novel Panopticon, which is currently being turned into a feature film, is about a female young offender living in a young person’s unit. She has recently been shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2017.

The exhibition is part of Freedom in Expression, a festival presented by the Koestler Trust to celebrate the arts within criminal justice and secure settings.

The project is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland, with additional support from the Robertson Trust.


Exhibition Events

Scottish Prison Arts Network Symposium

Friday 24 November 2017
10am – 4pm

SPAN Networking opportunity to learn about the Creative Conversations programme and engage in dialogue with other artists who are planning or delivering in arts and criminal justice sector.  Tickets are free and are available to book here.


Backboard Barn HM Prison Kilmarnock, Silver Award for Painting, 2017

Backboard Barn, HM Prison Kilmarnock, Silver Award for Painting, 2017

Mindful Exhibition Tour

Saturday 25 November 2017

Join Martin Stepek, one of Scotland’s foremost mindfulness teachers, author, poet, Sunday Herald mindfulness columnist and founder of Ten for Zen on his mindfulness tour around the Narrative exhibition.  Martin will use his vast experience in mindfulness, and his great love of the arts, to guide you in fully experiencing the work on display.

Free, but booking is required:


Compass Guardians, HM Prison Dumfries, Sculpture, 2017

Compass Guardians, HM Prison Dumfries, Sculpture, 2017

Voices from Prison

Sunday 26 November 2017

This event is being held in partnership with Vox Liminis.  Based in the East End of Glasgow, Vox Liminis explore the power of the arts to make us think about the criminal justice system, and its effects on people’s lives. The event will showcase creative work (writing, music and film) by people in prison, former prisoners, families of prisoners, criminal justice staff and criminologists. Free, but booking is required:

Project Partners:

Supported by:

Jenni Fagan’s curation has produced a fascinating and moving exhibition. Once again, the quality of work generated by Scottish establishments has been truly outstanding and we look forward to sharing this with the public at this very special venue.

Sally Taylor, Chief Executive
My Journey Inside: From There to Eternity, HM Prison Edinburgh, Bronze Award for Painting, 2017

My Journey Inside: From There to Eternity, HM Prison Edinburgh, Bronze Award for Painting, 2017