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

Locked In Rainbows, Atkinson Secure Unit (secure children's home), Pierce Brunt Highly Commended Award

Under 18 Fast Feedback programme

Entrants under 18 can enter the Koestler Awards at any point in the year and get a response to their entries within 4 weeks of entry, with guaranteed feedback. Under 18s are also considered for additional Awards.

The programme is open to young people in secure children’s homes, young offender institutions and secure hospitals, as well as young people who are being supervised in the community by youth offending teams.

Entries will also go forward to the main Koestler Awards judging and consideration for exhibitions.

The programme was developed to address the special circumstance that young people face in the criminal justice sector. Sentences are often short and young people move through the system much more quickly. It provides an opportunity for young people to have their work recognised and celebrated before they move on.

Fast Feedback Awards

Entries to the Under 18s Fast Feedback Programme are eligible for additional Fast Feedback Awards, which include Commended and Highly Commended Awards, as well as Special Awards which come with a cash prize of £25.

After the entries have gone through the Fast Feedback programme they are then put forward for the main Koestler Awards and can win any Award as part of the main programme.

How to Enter

To be eligible for the programme entrants must be eligible for the Koestler Awards and:

  • be under 18 at the time of entering the Koestler Awards
  • the front of the package must be marked with ‘Fast Feedback’ when posted to us
  • the Fast Feedback box on the Koestler Awards Entry Form must be ticked

Entry Form (pdf)
Guidance Notes (pdf)

Find out more about our work with young people and view examples of their artwork here.