Unlock the talent inside

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique, national role in motivating prisoners, secure hospital patients and immigration detainees to take part in the arts. The Koestler Awards are simple and powerful – we reward achievement, build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised people.

Our work harnesses the uniquely transformative power of the arts to help individuals learn the skills and gain the confidence to live creative, positive and productive lives. Each year we receive more than 7,000 entries from over 3,500 entrants across the UK in 52 categories. More than 2,000 Awards are granted by over 100 esteemed judges, and each year culminates in a curated exhibition at Southbank Centre which showcases the incredible power of the arts to transform lives.

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. Please note, there is now a special Under 18s Fast feedback entry form.

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

>u18s entry form

>guidance notes

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