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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2017 UK Exhibition

Curator – Antony Gormley

The 2017 UK Exhibition – ‘Inside’ – will be curated by internationally renowned artist Antony Gormley. He will select writing, performance, visual art and design for the show from entries to the 2017 Koestler Awards. The free exhibition will be open at Southbank Centre, London from 21 September to 15 November.

The opening festival will be held on the afternoon of 20 September – for updates join our mailing list

Antony Gormley, Angel of the North (Gateshead), 1998. Photograph by Jerry Hardman Jones. Copyright the artist

Antony Gormley, Angel of the North (Gateshead), 1998. Photograph by Jerry Hardman Jones. Copyright the artist


For the first time, we’re inviting entrants to the  Awards to help shape the exhibition by responding to a theme. After feedback from our entrants and prison education staff, Antony has chosen the theme ‘Inside.’

The works can be about your situation now, a cherished dream or a terrible nightmare. Dark or bright, hopeful or despairing, strong or fragile, large or small and in any medium – from a small piece of paper to a sound work, from drawing to model making, film to calligraphic poetry – please help make this exhibition a bold testament to what is happening inside of you.

Sir Antony Gormley

Artist’s Packs

We’ve produced Artist’s Packs for 2017 Awards entrants, to help inspire responses to the exhibition theme and give more background on Antony’s own artwork. Establishments and entrants can request printed copies from info@koestlertrust.org.uk or download here.

Take Part

Antony would like to hear about artworks in progress. If you’re working on a submission for the 2017 Awards in response to ‘Inside’, please contact us to find out how you can take part in the conversation.