Publish date: 24 November 2021

Patients at Ashworth Hospital have been encouraged by staff to enter the prestigious Koestler Awards competition once again, with several winning accolades in this national showcase of arts and creative works for secure hospitals, prisons and immigration detainees.

Included in the hospital’s winning and highly commended entries from our Secure and Specialist LD Division was a poem called “Where Would I Be” and non-fiction titled “Freedom”. There were also two digital art works, “Skydiver” and “UFO”, the latter taking a Gold Award and £60 prizemoney from the Koestler Arts Foundation. Read the full list of the 2021 Koestler winners.

Since 1962 the Koestler Awards have played a unique role in motivating secure patients, prisoners and detainees to take part in the arts. The aim is to reward achievement, help build self-confidence and broaden horizons for some of the country’s most marginalised individuals.

Entry into the Koestler Awards builds on the work of the range of activities in Ashworth’s Occupation Education and Recreation (OER) Building and supported on wards by OTs and activity workers to encourage patients to build new skills through creative works.

Each year the Foundation receives more than 7,000 entries and more than 100 awards are given. It culminates in an annual exhibition at the Southbank Centre, London, this year titled “The I and the We” which runs until December 5. There are also touring exhibitions regularly showcasing art works around the UK.