Koestler Awards 2011

Koestler Awards 2011

Art Education Leads To Awards Win For Prison Learners

Prisoners studying courses run by Kensington and Chelsea College were among the winners of the high profile Koestler Awards.

The annual event, set up by The Koestler Trust, recognises the educational endeavours of offender learners across the arts platform which includes writing, audio and film, performance, and visual arts and crafts.

Despite hundreds of entries from prisons across the country, learners from London’s Holloway, Brixton, Wormwood Scrubs, Feltham, Isis and Wandsworth Prison were the top winners of the night.

Among the winning entries from these prisons was an interview with Stephen Fry – which touched on Stephen’s time in prison and how he lives with Bi-Polar, a play which featured prisoners, guards and healthcare workers, a self-portrait and a hip-hop track.

The six award producing prisons all have their education and training in the arts delivered on site by Kensington and Chelsea College with the aim of rehabilitating prisoners and reducing the risk of re-offending.

A spokesman for The Koestler Trust said: ‘To make our society safer it pays to channel offenders’ energies to positive ends, to build their self-worth and help them learn new skills. The arts are an especially effective way of engaging with offenders who feel alienated from mainstream education and employment, and there is growing evidence that the arts are effective in changing offenders’ lives.’

A UK exhibition of artwork submitted to the 2011 Koestler Awards is being held from 22 September – 20 November at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London.