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

Making a complaint

If you’ve made an enquiry and received a response from us which you’re not happy with, or in the event that you received no response after 30 working days, please follow our complaints procedure to make sure we can deal with your case effectively.


Stage 1

In the first instance, the complaint should be made to the person dealing with your case as they are in the best place to resolve it. If you don’t know who this is please contact our reception on 020 8740 0333 or info@koestlerarts.org.uk. You can call us or write to us to make your complaint.

Make sure you:

  • include as much detail as you can about the issue
  • let us know why you feel your initial enquiry was not dealt with satisfactorily
  • tell us what you think should happen to resolve the complaint
  • clearly give us your current contact details. If you’re in prison, you must give us your prison number


Stage 2

If you feel the above staff member has failed to deal with your case effectively, or your complaint is about that member of staff, please address your complaint to one of the appropriate Directors, listed below:

Fiona Curran – Director of Arts
regarding Koestler Awards administration, exhibitions, artwork sales and artwork feedback: fiona@koestlerarts.org.uk

Sarah Mathève – Director of Outreach and Involvement
regarding mentoring and scholarships, family days, establishment visits, exhibition tours and hosts: sarah@koestlerarts.org.uk

They can be reached on 020 8740 0333 or by writing to the Koestler Arts postal address.


Stage 3

If within a further 20 working days you have received no response, are not satisfied with the response, or your complaint is about one of the Directors, please contact our chief executive, Sally Taylor sally (at) koestlerarts.org.uk by email or post.


Stage 4

In extraordinary circumstances, where you feel your complaint has not been dealt with after following the complaints procedure, or is about our Chief Executive, you may address your complaint to our Trustees. To do this, please put your complaint into a letter and post it to:

The Trustees
Koestler Arts
168A Du Cane Rd
W12 0TX

The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution.


External stage

The complainant can complain to the Charity Commission at any stage. Information about the kind of complaints the Commission can involve itself in can be found on their website.


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.