Unlock the talent inside

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique, national role in motivating prisoners, secure hospital patients and immigration detainees to take part in the arts. The Koestler Awards are simple and powerful – we reward achievement, build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of society’s most disadvantaged and marginalised people.

Our work harnesses the uniquely transformative power of the arts to help individuals learn the skills and gain the confidence to live creative, positive and productive lives. Each year we receive more than 7,000 entries from over 3,500 entrants across the UK in 52 categories. More than 2,000 Awards are granted by over 100 esteemed judges, and each year culminates in a curated exhibition at Southbank Centre which showcases the incredible power of the arts to transform lives.

Read more about us

An update from Koestler Arts in response to the impact of the current national lockdown

March 2021

Our priority at Koestler Arts, whilst ensuring that the 2021 Koestler Awards go ahead, is looking after our community. Following government guidance, the Koestler Arts Centre is running with a skeleton staff and the majority of the team will continue to work remotely.

We know the importance of our work to those who are in the criminal justice system, particularly those who may be more isolated than usual. We will therefore focus on our core programmes, and do our best to update entrants, volunteers, criminal justice staff and other partners in due course.

As I am sure you will understand, during this period, it will take us longer than usual to respond to queries. If you have any questions about entering the 2021 Koestler Awards, please check our FAQ page, which will be updated regularly.

We would like to wish you all well and to thank you for your support both in last year and in the months ahead. Stay safe.


Sally Taylor, CEO

Sign up to our newsletter for more news and updates.

Koestler Arts will use the information you provide on this form to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know what you would like to hear from us:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp’s privacy practices here.

Exterior of the Koestler Arts Centre, at the gates of HMP Wormwood Scrubs