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.

  • Radio 4 Appeal

Sky, HM Young Offender Institution Polmont, Painting 2018

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Support our work with young people in custody

When you step through the door of a prison art room, the first thing you notice is the atmosphere. People are calm and focused, and the pressure of day-to-day life in prison is momentarily forgotten.

For young people like John, this is what saved his life.   

Our BBC Radio 4 broadcast on March 24, recorded for us by artist Jeremy Deller who has been joining us as a judge of the Koestler Awards for over ten years. He told John’s story, a former Koestler Awards entrant and mentee who went to prison at 19 but was able to turn his life around through the transformative power of art.

Hear John and Jeremy reiterate how powerful creativity, spurred on by the Koestler Awards, can be for young people in custody:

Read more of John’s story here, as well as those of other young people whose lives have been changed through the Koestler Awards.

The support that Koestler has given me has afforded me my liberty, and it has healed me from inside… it’s created a new person, if I’m entirely honest.

John Costi, artist and former Koestler Awards entrant

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Take me to my donation »

Donation Total: £40.00

{amount} donation plus {fee_amount} to help cover fees.


£25

pays for an award for a young person in the 2019 Koestler Awards

£40

processes one entry to the Koestler Awards, from handling, logging in, judging and sending feedback and a certificate.

£85

ensures someone like John gets year-round support through feedback and encouragement

 

Koestler is very special to me because without it I wouldn’t be where I am now. To have received the 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, artist and former Koestler Awards entrant