Over ninety Koestler Arts Awards, won by Serco prisons

On October 30, 2020, the Koestler Trust charity announced this year’s results for their annual art awards and Serco managed prisons across the UK were proud to see that many of their creative residents winning a total of 92 awards!

HMP Dovegate, where there is a rich history of winning over one-hundred Koestler Awards, took home an impressive 49 awards along with HMP Ashfield with 14 awards, HMP Thameside with 13 awards, HMP Lowdham Grange with 6, HMP Kilmarnock with 7 and HMP Doncaster with 4.

As well as an impressive number of awards being won, it was also the variety of awards won through non-traditional artforms. One example was a song titled “California Dreaming” which won a Gold Award by a resident at HMP Thameside. “The Lifer's Prayer”, a poem written by a resident at HMP Lowdham Grange, also won a Gold Award.

The Koestler Awards are an annual prison arts award in the UK and have been running since 1962. Each year, prisoners from around the UK submit works of art from a variety of artforms such as visual art, craft and design, writing, performance and audio and even film and animation into 52 different award categories.

As well as running the annual art awards, the Koestler Trust also hosts exhibitions and events showcasing the artwork made by prisoners in order to help challenge negative stereotypes of people in custody. The trust also provides mentor programmes to ex-offenders in order help keep them artistically engaged after serving their sentence.

Despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Koestler Trust are holding their regular arts exhibition at London’s Southbank theatre, but this time it will be outside the theatre. The exhibition titled “No Lockdown in the Imagination” and is being held from November 13 to December 13.