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.

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  • 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

Ex-Prisoner Exhibition Hosts

We are looking to recruit a group of ex-prisoners to invigilate our national exhibition alongside Southbank Centre’s own Host Team, 7 days a week for the 5 and a half-week run. Our Exhibition Hosts enhance the public’s experience of the exhibition, and the role provides participants with a strong piece of work experience for their CV and a chance to develop new skills and build up their confidence for future employment.

The role involves standard invigilation duties – welcoming visitors to the exhibition, ensuring their safety and security, handing out exhibition guides, voting cards and providing advice on the sales of works plus much more:

  • Conducting tours of the exhibition
  • Working in the exhibition’s Pop-up Shop
  • Learning customer service and team-working skills
  • Providing an exceptional visitor experience of the exhibition
  • The opportunity to be involved ‘behind the scenes’ in the exhibition process – from installation to de-installation

We are looking for people who are able to give varied availability during the exhibition run – 28th October to the 5th December 2021 – and you would also need to be available for 7 training days (for which you will be paid) prior to the exhibition’s official public opening on Thursday 28th October 2021.

Working hours will be for a minimum of 8 hours per week and you may be offered work on any day of the week including Saturdays, Sundays, evenings and bank holidays. You will be employed by Koestler Arts on a temporary contract for an hourly rate of £10.85 per hour.

This employment opportunity is a bit different from many others as we are specifically looking to recruit people with convictions. Southbank Centre support initiatives such as ‘Ban the Box’ which encourages employers not to ask about convictions prior to interview. However, as the successful candidates will be Koestler employees, who will be publically identified as Ex-Prisoner Exhibition Hosts, we are asking for people to disclose their convictions upon application. This is because people who have committed certain types of offences would not be allowed to work in this role. Please see our frequently asked questions for more information.

The deadline to apply for this role is 9am on Wednesday 8th September

Interviews will be held on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 September



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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