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 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.

  • Katie's Story

Space Face, Barton Moss Secure Care Centre, Painting 2018

Katie’s Story

Working as a Koestler Exhibition Host changed my life

My lifestyle before my arrest was pretty chaotic but following my release I was determined that the years would not be wasted. I started looking for paid work and couldn’t believe it when I found an advert for Ex-Offender Exhibition Hosts. Finally, something I was actually qualified for! I applied on the spot and was delighted when I was offered a job.

Working as a Koestler Exhibition Host gave me so much confidence and was life changing. The work on display was inspiring, and I particularly enjoyed leading the public tours and being able to use my past experience positively. At the end of the exhibition I left with renewed self-belief and hope for my own future.

Being able to add recent work experience to my CV has been instrumental in helping me go on to secure full-time work with a homelessness charity.

Help us support more people like Katie to turn their lives around.


Working as a Koestler Exhibition Host gave me so much confidence and was life changing.