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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Koestler Exhibitions since 1962

The Koestler Trust has held an exhibition in London, of work from across the UK, annually since 1962. Exhibitions have been opened by a range of people, including Princess Anne, Terry Waite, Will Self, Stephen Fry, Jon Snow, Brian Eno and almost every Home Secretary/Secretary of State with responsibility for criminal justice.

Since 2009, the Trust has held exhibitions of Koestler Awards entries from across the UK in local venues including Wales Millennium Centre, Edinburgh Filmhouse, Glasgow Tramway, the Holden Gallery in Manchester and CUC Liverpool.

Koestler Awards Exhibition 1969