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

  • Freedom


2022 UK exhibition at Southbank Centre

Curated by Ai Weiwei 

27 October – 18 December 

Exhibition Space, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre

2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the Koestler Awards. We are delighted to announce that the curator of the annual UK exhibition at Southbank Centre will be Ai Weiwei!

Every year we ask our entrants for ideas for people to invite to curate one of our shows. Ai Weiwei has been suggested by several entrants every year. And so we are delighted to say that he has said ‘yes’.

He will spend time with us this summer looking at the thousands of pieces of visual artwork, music and writing entered into the 2022 Koestler Awards, and will select which pieces will be displayed at London’s Southbank Centre.

To mark Koestler Arts’ 60th birthday, Ai Weiwei wants this exhibition to be ‘the most ambitious yet’, and we can’t wait to see his vision come to life.

Southbank Centre will be closed on 15 November, so there will be no access to the exhibition on this date.