Finding Rhythms Wins 12 Koestler Awards

Koestler Arts logo

The 2020 Koestler Award winners were announced on Friday 30 October 2020 and we are delighted to announce that 12 of those winners are tracks made on Finding Rhythms projects in prisons.

The winning tracks were made in four different prisons. Each track was made in the course of a 36-hour recording project led by Finding Rhythms with the aim of creating a brand new album of music. Project participants were encouraged to write their own lyrics and set these to music. They had to work collaboratively with other members of the group and with project leaders. In the process they learned valuable interpersonal and employment skills and earned a BTEC qualification. The winning tracks are listed below, along with links for listening.

Koestler Trust is the UK’s best-known prisoner arts charity. The Trust inspires participation in the arts amongst offenders, secure patients and detainees through awards and feedback, mentoring, sales, exhibitions and events. The 2020 Koestler Awards were judged by experts in their respective fields, and the exhibition this year entitled, No Lockdown in the Imagination will be an outdoor installation of artwork from the 2020 Koestler Awards at London’s Southbank Centre and online from 12 November – 13 December 2020.

View the online exhibition.

AwardCategoryTrack NamePrison
GoldSinger-Songwriter OriginalCalifornia DreamingHMP Thameside
SilverSinger-Songwriter OriginalPraise HimHMYOI Brinsford
BronzeSinger-Songwriter OriginalNext LevelHMP Chelmsford
Singer-Songwriter OriginalStrongerHMP Peterborough
Singer-Songwriter OriginalDone DeedHMP Thameside
Singer-Songwriter OriginalFinding RhythmsHMP Thameside
Highly CommendedSinger-Songwriter Original10 MilliHMP Chelmsford
Singer-Songwriter OriginalFar AwayHMP Chelmsford
Singer-Songwriter OriginalFire In Da BoothHMP Peterborough
Singer-Songwriter OriginalLaws Of AttractionHMP Peterborough
Singer-Songwriter OriginalChasing The MoneyHMP Thameside
Singer-Songwriter OriginalThey Hatin’HMP Thameside

“It’s helped me with regards to anger, to keep it controlled, ‘cause I’ve had a realisation that I can put it on the mic when I’m angry, and I go back to my room and I feel better.”

Participant, HMP Peterborough

“I’ve been smashing ideas all day, rhyming, beatboxing, production ideas. Feeling on cloud 9.”

Participant, HMP Peterborough

“I feel that this course will help me get a job as I’ve been very isolated, suffering from various mental health afflictions for last few years so this was a good way to reintegrate with group settings and build my confidence so I will be able to apply for jobs in future”

Participant, HMP Thameside

“I’m going to be extremely sad when I go back to my cell because I haven’t felt that I’ve been in prison whilst I’ve done this, I felt like I escaped, this is what freedom is, being allowed to express yourself and express your talent and its been beautiful seeing everybody elses expression and everybody elses talent. We’ve all come out of ourselves and out of our shells and we’ve all allowed each other to do so”

Participant, HMP Chelmsford

“I was most impressed with the interaction between your musicians and the prison inmates which created a real team atmosphere as well as a willingness to perform, regardless of one’s musical ability. Such a huge benefit to the state of mind of those imprisoned whilst also sparking an interest in some to pursue music upon release. The confidence that was flowing from the room by the end of the session was heartening to witness.”

Angela, Ironmongers (Funder of HMP Chelmsford project)