Double Take: Arts by Offenders

Lately, I have become increasingly interested in rehabilitation and the use of art and art therapy as a tool for this. This of course has come about due to the new area I am now working in. 

So far I have been exposed to the world of drama, participatory group work, spoken word poetry and photo therapy. It’s been an exciting journey so far and while you might think the arts is all airy fairy and has no place in institutions such as prisons and hospitals you’d be wrong. Being able to see first hand the effects such techniques have is truly beneficial for the community and of course rewarding for everyone involved. 

One organisation that has sparked my interest is the Koestler Trust. They recently held an exhibition at the Southbank Centre on art by offenders. Their latest exhibition, Double Take, is now in Birmingham at the Arena Gallery. Do check it out if you live around there – it will be well worth it and will knock a few of your expectations away.


Double Take is 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 have been selected from entries from the region to the UK Koestler Awards, an annual scheme that has been rewarding artistic achievement in the criminal justice sector for over 50 years.

The exhibition has been curated by young people from Birmingham Youth Offending Service with support and guidance from the Koestler Trust and mac birmingham’s teams.

To find out more about this exhibition and the Koestler Trust please go here

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