We are the UK's best-known prison arts charity. We have 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. More

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Evidence Library

The Arts of Desistance

“Now I see myself as an artist, as opposed to an offender”
Koestler mentee.

The Koestler Trust is proud to present an independent evaluation into the effectiveness of the arts mentoring programme for former prisoners by Dr Leonidas Cheliotis. Read more about the report.

Please follow the link to view the full-length film by Julian Langham.

Koeslter Awards Koestler Awards 2015 UK Results

This year we received over 8,500 pieces of writing, music, film, fine art and design, with some Under 18s Fast Feedback entries still being received! Each entrant will receive a Participation Certificate in recognition of their hard-work and motivation. We also aim to give 80% of entrants written feedback on their work. Congratulations to all entrants on their achievement!

Award-winners are listed here, anonymously, by establishment (pdf).

Name an award Support us
by naming a Koestler Award

We've received over 8,700 entries - more than ever before – to the 2014 Koestler Awards. We need your help to give out as many awards as possible. So please support us and recognise the talent and achievement of our artists by Naming an Award.

Ocean of DespairMENTORING

Since 2007, we have supported ex-offenders to continue with their artistic activities by matching them with a specially trained arts mentor. We now have two ways in which we offer support to a wide range of people who have been involved in the criminal justice system who would like to develop their interest in the arts.
Find out more about mentoring and how to apply

Under 18's fast feedback programme

Entrants to the Koestler Awards who are under 18 can enter for our Fast Feedback Programme. This offers a faster turnaround and additional Koestler awards for young people.

If the artwork that has been entered has been made as part of an Art Award project you will also be considered for the 'Arts Award Achievement Prize'
Find out more the Under 18's Fast Feedback Programme


If you'd like to receive news on forthcoming exhibitions, Art Sales and projects please sign up for our mailing list.

The Koestler Trust is now on Soundcloud. Feel free to share these great tracks and leave your feedback.

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