Serco prisons submit entries for this year’s Koestler Awards

HMPs Dovegate, Lowdham Grange, Ashfield, Kilmarnock and Doncaster have all submitted their entries for this year’s Koestler Art Awards.

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.

The awards are run by the Koestler Trust Charity, founded by Arthur Koestler in 1962. Koestler, who was a writer and campaigner for the abolition of the death penalty, decided to set up an annual scheme to award ‘creative work in the fields of literature, the arts or sciences by those physically confined’. 

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.

HMP Dovegate, where there is a rich history of winning over one-hundred Koestler Awards, has submitted over one hundred entries this year. HMP Lowdham Grange has submitted 19 entries, HMP Ashfield submitted 40 entries, HMP Kilmarnock submitted 26 entries and HMP Doncaster 20 entries.

The Koestler Trust also works with academic partners to help show the benefit prisoners receive when participating in the arts whilst in prison, benefits such as increased self-confidence, academic achievement and improved relationships with friends and family. All the mentioned benefits are paramount in helping prisoners lead a life free of crime.  

Normally the results for the Koestler Awards are announced on their website in August, but due the Covid-19 pandemic they are delayed with the Koestler Trust charity stating on their FAQs that the results are “likely to happen later this year”.

To learn more about the Koestler Trust you find them on their website here: https://www.koestlerarts.org.uk/