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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Self-Harm: The Past, HM Prison Frankland, Platinum Award for Painting, 2015

Audience Choice Award

Thank you to everyone who wrote comments cards for our LOUD! exhibition and voted for their favourite artwork. Your votes have now been counted, and we are pleased to announce the winners! The comments will be sent on to all the artists.


North East Platinum Audience choice Award


Rhino Head, HM Prison Kirklevington Grange

North East Gold Audience choice Award


Moonlight on the Lake, Northumbria Probation Trust

North East Silver Audience choice Award

Because them's the Rules, HM Prison Kirklevington Grange

Because them’s the Rules, HM Prison Kirklevington Grange