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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  • My Path

    Prison and Police Museum, Ripon Museum Trust

Murmuration, HM Prison Wealstun, First-Time Entrant Award for Watercolour and Gouache, 2020

My Path – Ripon

Art by People in the Criminal Justice System

Prison and Police Museum, Ripon Museum Trust

29 June – 26 September 2021

The Prison and Police Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm – 4pm. Entrance to the exhibition is included in the cost of museum entry. Visit Ripon Museums for bookings.

Following the exhibition, My Path at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield in Spring 2021, a smaller group of artworks has toured to North Yorkshire for a display at Ripon Museums. Contemporary Koestler artworks are displayed in contrast to the museum’s historic setting.

The exhibition showcases artworks from across Yorkshire, which were submitted to the 2020 Koestler Awards for arts in the criminal justice system. Every work was made by someone in a prison, secure hospital, young offender institution, or on probation.

Young people supported by Sheffield Youth Justice Service curated the original version, bringing their insight and imagination to the selection. Staff and volunteers at Ripon Museums then chose the smaller selection that will be on display at the Prison & Police Museum, focusing on themes of nature, journeys and the prison experience.

Many of the artworks from the My Path exhibitions in Sheffield and Ripon are for sale through our online shop, with prices ranging from £40 to £500. The money raised from artwork sales is split between the artist, the charity Victim Support and towards the cost of running the Koestler Awards.

Art in Prison: Creativity and the Criminal Justice System

Online talk

Thursday 23 September, 7pm, £5

How can art benefit people in the criminal justice system? Join our Arts Manager, Jo Tapp, alongside Susanna Menis (Lecturer in Law at Birkbeck London University) and Neil Dembry (Custodial Manager at HMP & YOI Askham Grange in York) to hear about their experiences of creative projects in prisons and the impact they can have on the people taking part. Part of the Ripon Museums Online series of talks for Autumn 2021.

About the Venue: Ripon Museums

Ripon Museums comprise three historic sites, all within walking distance of each other. As well as the Prison and Police Museum, there is a Courthouse Museum and a Workhouse Museum. Ripon Museums together tell a sorry and interwoven story of Law and Order in time’s past.

Ripon Museums logo