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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Beyond the Door exhibition opening


 Exhibition Tour

Saturday 25 February
Arena Gallery, mac birmingham

Find out more about the Koestler Trust and the artworks on display by joining Koestler Trust’s Exhibitions & Events Co-ordinator Nami Chikhlia for a tour.  The tour is free but booking is essential. Book via mac birmingham’s website.

Geese Theatre Company – Behind the Mask

Friday 3 March
Randle Studio, mac birmingham

Behind the Mask is an introductory workshop in to the work of Birmingham-based Geese Theatre Company who have been delivering life-changing theatre in prisons and the community since 1987.  Led by Deputy Artistic Director, Louise Heywood, the workshop will include a brief history and overview of the company’s methodology, a demonstration of drama-based group work techniques and an opportunity for questions. The workshop will be practical and experiential. Places are free of charge but must be reserved in advance by emailing Geese Theatre Company.

Still Life Killing Time:  Edmund Clark on working in prison as an artist

Wednesday 8 March
6.30pm – 7.30pm
The Hexagon Theatre, mac birmingham

Artist and photographer Edmund Clark will share his experience of working in places of incarceration. In particular he will talk about his book ‘Still Life Killing Time’ about the experience of ageing life prisoners in HMP Kingston and of being the Artist in Residence at HMP Grendon, Britain’s only therapeutic prison, and how working in the prison has influenced his creative practice. The Artist in Residence programme at HMP Grendon aims to develop a public discourse about prisons, rehabilitation and criminality. Integral to Clark’s research and art work during the residency is the opportunity for prisoners to work alongside a professional artist assisting them in their own creative endeavours.  The talk is free but booking is essential. Book via mac birmingham’s website.