High Sheriff News

Koestler Trust

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The High Sheriff has nominated two charities to support this year : The John Feeny Trust and The Koestler Trust.

The Koestler Trust was founded by Arthur Koestler, one of the key writers and thinkers of the mid 20th century. His experiences as a political prisoner gave him exceptional insight into the relationship between imprisonment and creativity, and he is famous for the classic prison novel Darkness at Noon.

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The Koestler Trust have been running the Awards programme for offenders, secure patients and detainees for over 50 years.

The aims of the awards include:

  • A positive goal towards which inmates can strive.
  • A means of acquiring and practising new skills, and often discovering unrecognised talent.
  • An outlet for creative energies and emotions.
  • Recognition of achievements.
  • Encouragement to continue in the arts and education.

Every entrant receives a participation certificate and recognition for their work. We give over 1,500 awards a year, total prize money worth over £30,000, with most winners receiving a cash prize.

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For more artworks by young people for the Koestler Trust –  go to our gallery for more great works.


As well as the UK exhibition at Southbank Centre the Trust holds shows of local artwork in different areas each year. This gives work in those areas an extra chance to be seen, win awards and sell. Earlier this year the awards were exhibited at MAC in Birmingham.

Double Take


Double Take was an exhibition of artwork, music and writing from prisons, secure hospitals, and by people on community sentences in the West Midlands. The works in the exhibition were selected from entries from the region to the UK Koestler Awards.

KT dogThe exhibition was curated by young people from Birmingham Youth Offending Service with support and guidance from the Koestler Trust and mac birmingham’s teams.

Double Take kindly supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, Arts Council England, CHK, theEdward Cadbury Charitable Trust and the William A Cadbury Charitable Trust.


The annual awards entries are judged by over 150 experts from different fields. 2014 judges included Turner Prize-winning artists Grayson Perry and Jeremy Deller; the National Theatre; the Victoria & Albert Museum; artist Sarah Lucas; celebrity hair stylist Louise Galvin; rapper Speech Debelle; artist and activist Htein Lin; and the band Hot Chip.

ARTHUR KOESTLER 1905 – 1983 more information here 

Koestler Trust website is here and to support the trust go here



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