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.

Read more about us

  • Apply for Mentoring

Apply for Mentoring

If you have an interest in writing, fine art, design or performance that you’d like to develop, then we want to hear from you.

Whether you’d like some help to create new work, or guidance to take your talent to the next level, mentoring from Koestler Arts can help you progress. We offer mentoring across England and Wales in a range of artforms.

What’s a mentoring session like?

Through our two different mentoring pathways, we offer support to people who want to develop their arts-based activities and skills by having one-to-one mentoring sessions. You’ll work with your mentor to identify the goals you’d like to achieve, such as applying to college, creating a piece of work or accessing local arts resources and receive support from your mentor and Koestler Arts to achieve these.

A typical mentoring session might involve:

They Still Wear Suits Like This, Don’t They?, HM Prison Shepton Mallet, Victor Roberts Highly Commended Award for Portraits, 2011
  • Going to an exhibition with your mentor to look at other artists’ work
  • Receiving feedback on something you have recently created
  • Asking your mentor for advice on your technique
  • Working on an application to college or further education
  • Your mentor suggesting resources to expand your knowledge
  • Finding out about courses or events in your arts field
  • Doing a joint project with your mentor to develop your skills
  • Building your confidence
  • Your mentor supporting you to perform a piece of your own work

How do I apply for Koestler Mentoring?

If you’re interested in being mentored, you can download an application form below, and send it to the Outreach Team at our Freepost address. Alternatively, you can request a paper copy. We will write to you when we’ve received your application and ask a referee to support your participation in the mentoring scheme.

If you have any questions, please give us a ring on 020 8740 0333, or email us at info@koestlerarts.org.uk.


Complete and return:

Approved Provider Standard        Cabinet Office

Mentoring gave me focus and helped me plan my time. My work with my mentor gave me confidence, both in relation to my writing and in relation to exploring other projects and arts activities. I felt that in being seen as a writer who happened to have gone to jail rather than as a prisoner who could write, my own perspective on who I was and what I was able to achieve was transformed.

Former Mentee