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

  • Jobs and Volunteering

Jobs and volunteering

  • Koestler Arts and Ban the Box

    Statement from Sally Taylor, Chief Executive

    Koestler Arts is an inclusive organisation and actively promotes equality. We endorse the ethos of Ban the Box through our own system of positively encouraging applications from people with criminal convictions. We welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, particularly those who have lived experience of the criminal justice system, and offer guaranteed interviews for paid roles to those who have been in prison or on a community sentence in the last 2 years and who meet all the ‘essential’ person specification criteria.

Current opportunities

Arts Team Volunteers

Unfortunately we don’t have any volunteering opportunities at present. As soon as volunteer positions become available we will update this page.

Koestler Arts runs an annual Awards that structure our team’s calendar, meaning that our responsibilities change throughout the year. Volunteers will have an opportunity to experience different roles and activities depending on the period that they spend with us.

Below is a simplified timeline to show the Arts Team’s change of focus throughout the year:

Jan – April – returning artworks to the artists

April – June – receiving and logging in new artworks for Awards

June – August – helping with judging

August – December – writing feedback

Please note that you must be 18 years or older to volunteer.

Skills and experience needed to volunteer with Koestler Arts:

  • Accuracy – you need to sustain accuracy while working with large volumes of artwork at a time.
  • Physical dexterity – to handle fragile artwork in many shapes and sizes following health and safety procedures.
  • An interest in one or several of the art forms represented in the Awards – an interest in the artwork will keep things lively for you.
  • Commitment to the charity’s policies such as health and safety, confidentiality and equal opportunities.
  • Support for the aims of Koestler Arts – we want our volunteers to get as involved as they can in our work and to enjoy promoting participation in the arts by all people in the criminal justice system, secure patients and detainees.

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I love to see people's poems, and connect with their intent and emotion. I also love to really work out what their purpose is and help them get closer to their target by giving really effective feedback - helpful comments are so encouraging for writers.

2019 feedback volunteer