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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An Art Trail by Women in Prison

In 2018, Koestler Arts displayed artwork by women in prison in key sites across the UK. The project played a part in the Vote 100 celebrations which took place throughout the year to commemorate the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women the right to vote.

Sales of 100 Years On artworks will fund the Helen Cadbury Scholarship Award, providing the scholar with one-to-one support from an arts professional for a year, a monetary prize and an arts bursary. During the often chaotic transition from custody to community, the benefits of creativity in boosting mental health, wellbeing and confidence – benefits which many find in prison – can be lost in the face of challenges in accessing basic social, educational and vocational opportunities. We are excited to offer this scholarship as a way of maintaining the positive effects of art post-release.

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