The Koestler Trust: 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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Reflection: Coming Back Down to Earth, HM Prison Send, Pastel 2018

Contact the Development Team

Get in touch to learn more about the different ways you can support our work

If you are interested in our work and the role of the arts in supporting the rehabilitative journeys of prisoners, please email us at support-us@koestlertrust.org.uk or contact us using the form below or give us a call on 020 8740 0333 to discover more about how you can join our family of supporters.


To receive validation while I was in a room without a handle on the door that I could do stuff that didn’t involve crime was a revelation to me.

John Costi, former entrant and mentee