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 Awards 2021: FAQs

Falling Fireballs, NPS Norfolk and Suffolk, Commended Award for Painting, 2020

Koestler Awards 2021 FAQs

Due to the impact of Covid-19, there have been a few changes to the 2021 Koestler Awards. See below for answers to your frequently asked questions.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us by email. Please note that our office is currently closed and staff are currently working from home. Therefore, it may take a little longer than usual for us to reply. Thank you for your understanding.

  • When will the 2021 Awards results be announced?

    Judging is currently underway for the 2021 Koestler Awards. Award results will be announced on 25 October 2021.

    Certificates and Awards cheques will be sent to entrants by early December 2021.

  • When will 2021 Koestler Awards entries be returned?

    We are aiming to return all unsold visual artwork to entrants by the end of March 2022.

    Please keep us updated with your current address by emailing info@koestlerarts.org.uk or by writing to ‘Freepost KOESTLER ARTS’.

  • I entered work into the 2021 Koestler Awards. Will I receive feedback?

    We are working hard to ensure as many entrants as possible receive feedback on their work and will be inviting volunteers to write feedback from September until the of the year.

    Some feedback will be sent with certificates in December 2021. We will then post any additional feedback at the end of January 2022.

  • When is the 2022 Koestler Awards deadline?

    The deadline for the 2022 Koestler Awards is 7 April 2022 and the Themed Category is Taste.

    Guidance notes and entry forms for the 2022 Koestler Awards will be available from November.

  • I have submitted work through the Fast Feedback Programme. Will I still receive feedback within 4 weeks?

    We are planning to re-open our Fast Feedback Programme in October 2021.

    Response times may take longer than usual while we catch up so please keep us updated with your current address by emailing info@koestlerarts.org.uk or by writing to ‘Freepost KOESTLER ARTS’.

  • Are there any extra resources for entrants at this time?

    We produce Art Aid sheets to help inspire learners in prisons and other secure settings. Until the deadline for the 2021 Koestler Awards, we will be sharing new Art Aid sheets twice a month.

    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.)

  • Will the exhibitions still go ahead?

    Our 2021 UK exhibition will be back in the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre.

    The I and the We, curated by Camille Walala will open on 29 October – 5 December 2021.

    Please see our exhibitions page or sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates.