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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  • We Are All Human

    Curated by Benjamin Zephaniah
    15 Sep – 13 Nov 2016
    Southbank Centre, London

We Are All Human

Art by Offenders, Secure Patients and Detainees from the 2016 Koestler Awards
Curated by Benjamin Zephaniah
15 Sep – 13 Nov 2016
Southbank Centre, London

16k7012We are all Human is the UK’s annual national showcase of arts by prisoners, ex-offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees. It is the ninth exhibition in an ongoing partnership between the Koestler Trust and Southbank Centre.

This year’s show was curated by writer and dub–poet Benjamin Zephaniah. The exhibition features a wide range of artforms including painting, drawing, matchstick modelling, craft, music and writing, exploring themes of time, contemplation and the natural environment.


Prison is a concrete jungle so I wanted to get as much nature into the exhibition as possible. We are all human – it’s a really simple truth.

Benjamin Zephaniah 2016

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 unique work experience and new skills, the hosts deepen visitors’ engagement with the exhibition, enabling audiences to
hear first-hand how the arts reflect and enrich the lives of people in secure and criminal justice settings.

Spirit Level
Southbank Centre

Open Daily 10am – 11pm
Free Entry



Exhibition Partners
koestler-trust        southbank-centre        national-offender-management-service


Exhibition Supporters
arts-council-england       sodexo       partnership-in-care