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.

Read more about us

Apply for mentoring

If you have an interest in writing, fine art, design or performance that you’d like to develop, then we want to hear from you.

Whether you’d like some help to create new work, or guidance to take your talent to the next level, mentoring from the Koestler Trust can help you progress. We offer mentoring across England and Wales in a range of artforms.

What’s a mentoring session like?

Through our two different mentoring pathways, we offer support to people who want to develop their arts-based activities and skills by having one-to-one mentoring sessions. You’ll work with your mentor to identify the goals you’d like to achieve, such as applying to college, creating a piece of work or accessing local arts resources and receive support from your mentor and the Koestler Trust to achieve these.

A typical mentoring session might involve:

They Still Wear Suits Like This, Don't They?, HMP Shepton Mallet, Victor Roberts Highly Commended Award for Portraits 2011

They Still Wear Suits Like This, Don’t They?, HM Prison Shepton Mallet, Victor Roberts Highly Commended Award for Portraits, 2011

  • Going to an exhibition with your mentor to look at other artists’ work
  • Receiving feedback on something you have recently created
  • Asking your mentor for advice on your technique
  • Working on an application to college or further education
  • Your mentor suggesting resources to expand your knowledge
  • Finding out about courses or events in your arts field
  • Doing a joint project with your mentor to develop your skills
  • Building your confidence
  • Your mentor supporting you to perform a piece of your own work

How do I apply for Koestler Mentoring?

If you’re interested in being mentored, you can download an application form below, and send it to the Outreach Team at our Freepost address. Alternatively, you can request a paper copy. We will write to you when we’ve received your application and ask a referee to support your participation in the mentoring scheme.

If you have any questions, please give us a ring on 020 8740 0333, or email us at

> download mentoring leaflet [.pdf]
> download mentee information pack [.pdf]
> download application form [.docx]

Approved Provider Standard        Cabinet Office