Each year, as well as sending participation certificates to all Koestler Awards entrants, we also send feedback on thousands of pieces of fine art, music, writing, craft and film.

Koestler Awards entrants tell us the feedback they receive on their work is one of the most important parts of the awards experience. Feedback can boost confidence, and provides entrants with expert advice on how to develop their work. With the help of lots and lots of volunteers over the summer months and visitors to our exhibitions, we aim to give written feedback to all entrants.

Feedback from experienced artists/writers is valuable because it’s genuine, practical and focused. It’s not sugar-coated or a platitude. In many ways, it’s the best thing about the scheme.

Koestler Awards entrant

Koestler Critics

Feedback writing begins during the judging process, with Koestler Awards judges writing responses to Award-winning work. We then build on this during the summer with the support of our Koestler Critics, volunteers with expertise in one of the Koestler Award artforms, who write feedback focused on helping our entrants celebrate success while also providing artwork specific advice on how the entrant can improve their skills. Feedback is particularly important for entrants who are creating artworks, such as drawing, writing and crafts, in their cells without the support of education staff.

If you are an artist, writer, musician or performer, and would be interested in becoming a Koestler Critic, please keep an eye on our Jobs & Volunteering page for more information.

I believe the best avenue for rehabilitation is in the discovery of a genuine passion for something in life. I find this in writing and the feedback and encouragement your organisation give to prisoners cannot be measured in money.

Koestler Awards entrant

Visitor Comment Cards

The Koestler Exhibitions also generate feedback and messages from members of the public for our entrants. We create feedback cards for visitors to fill with responses to their favourite pieces in our Exhibitions. We pass these anonymised cards onto the entrants. Our entrants tell us reading the public’s response to their work is a huge boost; comment cards are treasured and re-read many times, with entrants using them as something positive to focus on when they are in low spirits.

The feedback cards to the inmates mean more than words can say. Certainly to me they are cherished more than any prize.

Koestler Awards entrant