Koestler Awards: FAQs
See below for answers to your frequently asked questions.
If you can’t find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us.
The deadline for the 2024 Koestler Awards is 12 April 2024.
We aim to return unsold visual artwork to entrants by the end of March 2024.
Please keep us updated with your current address by emailing email@example.com or by writing to ‘Freepost KOESTLER ARTS’.
We have been working hard to ensure as many entrants as possible receive feedback on their work.
Some feedback will be sent with certificates in October 2023. We will also be posting any additional feedback at the end of January 2024.
The 2024 Koestler Awards results will be announced at the end of August/beginning of September. A PDF document with details of all award-winning pieces will be uploaded to the Koestler Awards Results page.
The Koestler Awards are open to:
– anyone in custody in a UK prison, young offender institution, secure training centre, secure children’s home, immigration removal centre, or high or medium security psychiatric hospital or unit (including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man).
– any current client of the National Probation Service or a Community Rehabilitation Company, a Youth Offending Service, the Scottish Criminal Justice Social Work Service or their equivalents elsewhere in the UK.
– any UK citizen currently in a prison overseas (must submit via Prisoners Abroad).
Artworks may be submitted as an individual or a group entry.
Original work can be entered in any of the artforms listed in our guidance notes, up to a maximum of 5 in total.
The work should be from the last 12 months.
Do not enter artworks copied directly from other artworks.
Do not enter work that includes your name in the artwork or work made through purchased kits.
We currently accept artworks across 52 different categories. Take a look at our artwork galleryfor examples from previous years and download our guidance notes for a full list of this year’s categories.
Each year we invite our entrants to have a go at producing a poem, drawing, painting, song or any other Koestler artform inspired by our Themed Category. The 2023 theme is ‘From Now On’. More information about entering the Themed Category can be found in our guidance notes.
Entrants can submit up to 5 entries into the Koestler Awards.
You are welcome to photocopy the form.
Follow the guidance notes for entering, noting that entry forms must be signed-off by an authorised member of staff.
Send items up to 2kg free using ‘Freepost KOESTLER ARTS’.
Pack work carefully so that it reaches us safely. The maximum weight limit is 15kg per parcel. Many establishments send a van of entries each year – ask if this happens at your establishment.
Entrants and the member of staff signing entry forms can choose to use first name only or remain anonymous. We will make first names public in exhibition only if entrants are aged 18 or over and we have permission on the entry form.
We ask entrants to think carefully about having first names shown, especially if it may identify entrants as an offender to relatives, employers or the press. We cannot accept responsibility for any repercussions.
Entrants and the authorised member of staff who signs the entry form should consider if there are sensitivities around a first name being published, particularly concerning victims of a crime or heightened media profile.
We ask that entrants do not sign artworks with full names, or put it on the back of any artwork, or otherwise reference it in the entry. If this happens, we will need to remove it before exhibition or sale, or may not be able to display the work.
All entrants aged 18 and under can receive their certificate and feedback within 4 weeks of entry, and can enter at any point of the year. All entries must arrive with a completed under 18s entry form. The parcel containing the entry must be clearly marked ‘U18 Fast Feedback’ to be eligible.
Our Fast Feedback programme for those 18 and under was developed to address the special circumstance that young people face in the criminal justice sector. Sentences are often short and young people move through the system much more quickly. It provides an opportunity for young people to have their work recognised and celebrated before they move on.
Read more about the Fast Feedback Programme.
We produce Art Aid sheets to help inspire learners in prisons and other secure settings. On each PDF you will find a couple of activities that can be done using simple materials, and samples of past entries to the Koestler Awards.
We’re working with education provider Novus to help distribute these, through in-cell screens and paper packs, to their learners. If you’re an education provider or prison arts organisation, you can also download and use the sheets. (Please drop us a note to let us know you did.)