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
“Now I see myself as an artist, as opposed to an offender”
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.
CATCHING DREAMS: the 2014 UK Koestler exhibition now on at Southbank Centre, with a creative writing installation by artist Janetka Platun, an exciting programme of events and Pop-Up Koestler Art Shop.
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.
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
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.
This year we received a record-breaking number of entries to the Koestler Awards – 8,789 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).
After nearly 9 years in the role, Tim Robertson is stepping down as the Koestler Trust’s Chief Executive. He will remain in post until March 2015 or his successor is appointed.
Tim says: “I’m very proud of what the Koestler Trust has achieved in the last few years, and I feel sad to be leaving such a fantastic charity. But after nearly 9 years, I’ve come to realise that I need a new challenge – it’s time for me to go - and I feel the Trust needs someone fresh to lead its next stages of growth.”
Koestler Trust chair of trustees Dame Anne Owers says: “Tim has brought about remarkable growth at the Koestler Trust, and we will miss him greatly. While we press ahead with finding his successor, we will also be marking Tim’s departure with a public event in the new year, when he will give his reflections on arts and criminal justice from his experience, and when we can all thank and give him best wishes for the future.”
We share some of the concerns that colleagues in other charities and the arts have expressed about recent changes to "Incentives and Earned Privileges" for prisoners.
Read our full statement
The Koestler Trust is now on Soundcloud. Feel free to share these great tracks and leave your feedback.