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

Become a Koestler Mentor

Koestler Mentors volunteer to support one or more mentees who have been involved in the criminal justice system and who have an interest in the arts.

We give our mentors full training and support, but it is our mentors’ energy, arts expertise and organisational skills that are vital to the success of the mentoring programmes. Mentors meet with their Koestler Mentee to identify what they would like to achieve in the arts and then have up to 10 one-to-one mentoring sessions to carry out arts based activities such as reviewing your mentees’ work or attending exhibitions/events together.

What will I gain from becoming a Koestler Mentor?

  • You’ll be doing something meaningful, enjoyable, constructive and challenging
  • You’ll develop coaching and counselling skills that are transferable to your personal and professional life
  • Mentoring can revitalise your own practice
  • Mentoring can be rewarding as the person you mentor develops and progresses
  • Mentors will be automatically invited to Koestler events such as exhibition and sale previews, workshops and seminars
  • The Koestler Trust will provide you with a reference detailing the work you’ve undertaken as a mentor We have mentees looking for a mentor in a wide range of Koestler artforms across England and Wales including writing, fine and applied arts, design, film and music.

The training has been really inspirational and I’m really excited about becoming a mentor. It was well organised, with clear goals and expectations, a standard of mutual respect and space for everyone to contribute.

Michael’s story of his first session as a Koestler Mentor

To apply

We especially welcome applications from mentors working in writing, and from artists based in the North of England and the Midlands.


> Koestler Mentoring FAQ document

> Mentor person specification

> Mentoring project information

Complete and return:

> Koestler Mentor Application Form


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