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

Comments, compliments and complaints

We welcome feedback on our work. Your suggestions help us plan future work, and we reserve the right to quote them anonymously in our funding applications etc. unless you tell us that we may not. If you’d like to comment on our work or make a suggestion for how we might develop as a charity please get in touch at info@koestlerarts.org.uk or 020 8740 0333.

If you’d like to make a complaint please follow our Enquiries and Complaints Process, detailed below. In most cases, once we’ve received your enquiry we’ll discuss it with you to see if we can resolve the issue without having to go through the complaints process.

Common enquiries about artwork, cheques certificates etc:

  • If you’ve not received your submissions to the Koestler Awards back, please let us know as we can tell you when it was despatched and to whom.
  • If you’re due a Koestler Awards payment but have not received it, we can contact prison finance departments to check it has been received by them. Since 2021 we have started to move to electronic payments for prisoners in England and Wales, so please check your account if you have not received a cheque. We can only do this within three months of issuing a payment and we can’t investigate or reissue payments from over one year ago.
  • Please let us know if your address has changed, and bear in mind that we must be notified of this by yourself in order to send your certificates, cheques and submissions to you.
  • We can’t confirm that we’ve received your entry until we’ve opened all the packages sent to us from across the UK and logged all the entries into our database.
  • We post a list of winning artworks online in August, and most certificates are sent in October.

Confidentiality: We won’t be able to answer questions about your entries to the Koestler Awards unless we can verify your identity, nor are we able to disclose information to third parties. This is so that we protect our entrants’ confidentiality, so please help us by having your entry data to hand when contacting us.

Appointments: We won’t be able to resolve your enquiry if you come to the Koestler Arts Centre without an appointment, as the appropriate staff member may not be in the office. We don’t hold Awards money on the premises so can’t issue Awards money if you turn up unannounced.

Please contact our reception on info@koestlerarts.org.uk or the person who has been previously dealing with your case to make an enquiry. You can call us on 020 8740 0333 or write to us:

Koestler Arts
168A Du Cane Rd
W12 0TX


Freepost Koestler Arts.

We’ll respond to you within 20 working days of receiving your enquiry. If you feel we have failed to respond to your enquiry satisfactorily, please let us know by Making a complaint.

Important information – enquiries and complaints

  • If you don’t adhere to the enquiries and complaints procedure steps in order, we will re-route your complaint to the appropriate staff member, as detailed above.
  • The details of all enquiries and complaints will be kept confidential. However we reserve the right to discuss your complaint with relevant staff in establishments or internally, or with appropriate case workers or probation team members, where we deem it appropriate for us to do so to resolve the issue.
  • Please submit your enquiry or complaint in a timely manner. We’ll be unable to resolve your case if it is regarding work entered more than 18 months ago.
  • Koestler Arts does not have storage space available. Therefore, all visual artwork which we’ve been unable to return to artists will be disposed of 12 months from receipt. As noted in the entry guidelines, we do not return non-visual entries.

Artwork purchased at our exhibitions must be collected within 3 months of the exhibition closing or will be disposed of/resold.