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

Our Impact

We are delighted to share our 2016–2017 Impact Statement, showing our achievements in one of the most challenging years yet for the prison estate. Click here to take a look, and if you would like any more information on our work over the year, do get in touch with Nathalie Bristow, Development Director, at nbristow@koestlertrust.org.uk or call us on 020 8740 0333

The Koestler Trust evaluates all its work for quality, value for money and impact. Each entrant to the Awards is asked to complete monitoring and evaluation forms so we can measure how we’re performing and listen to entrants’ views on how we can better support their participation in the arts.

Our steering groups, staff and volunteers include ex-Koestler entrants. We hold focus groups in prisons and other settings to evaluate projects and often ask our service-users to lead our creative projects. We have a relationship with Victim Support, the charity that supports victims of crime, and have held events for their staff and volunteers at our Southbank exhibitions and worked together to curate our 2010 UK exhibition. A donation of 25% of the profit from original artwork sales goes to Victim Support.

We seek to engage the public in debate and developing our programmes. Each exhibition features Audience Feedback Cards, on which visitors can feedback on the artwork to the maker, and special Koestler Awards chosen by the public.

Palm Trees In Poland, HM Prison Huntercombe, 2017

We are thrilled to share reports on all aspects of our work, including our exhibitions and outreach work. Do let us know if you have any questions about any of the featured reports or feedback on our work.

Beyond the Door Exhibition Report