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 50 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

Digital Art, HM Prison Wakefield, Commended Award for Digital Art, 2017

Koestler Awards 2018

The Koestler Awards will be open for entries from January 2018; the deadline for submissions is Friday 13 April 2018.

This year’s themed category is ‘Connections’. Have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler artform using the word ‘Connections’ as a theme.

This year the Koestler Trust has partnered with Synergy Theatre Project to develop the Stage Play category. All Stage Play entries will be read and judged by a team of theatre professionals and ex-prisoners. Every entry will receive written feedback. The winners will be announced in September, followed by a prize-giving ceremony and a rehearsed reading in the autumn at a leading London theatre, and in the relevant prison if the 1st prize winner is a serving prisoner. You can read our Stage Play guidelines here.

Entry Forms and Guidance Notes are now available to download from our website. Hard copies will be sent out to prisons, young offender institutions, secure training centres, secure children’s homes, immigration removal centres, and high/medium security hospitals in the new year.