The brutal reality of living 'inside' exhibition

As specialists in the Criminal Justice System, we work with people across the sector and think a lot about how we could improve the system for policy makers, policing leaders, prosecutors, victims – and of course offenders.

So when there is an exhibition of art produced by offenders’ ten minutes walk from our office, it was a no-brainer of a lunchtime excursion. And it is a truly insightful exhibition with some pieces from genuinely talented artists, others shocking in their brutal honesty about the reality of living ‘Inside.’

It’s not just visual art, although there is a lot of that; there are audio exhibits, diaries, poems, sculptures and videos too. I came away reassured that amazing artists are and can be everywhere – including in our prisons.

Drop in to the Southbank Centre to check it out – exhibition is sponsored by the Koestler Trust and is on until the 15th November. For more information about the exhibition please see

The annual UK exhibition, in partnership with London’s Southbank Centre, includes entries to the year’s Koestler Awards from across the UK, and from British prisoners abroad. The programme includes talks, performances, exhibited artist family days, pop-up shop and tours. In recent years, the UK exhibition has been presented to the public by ex-offender hosts, specially trained and recruited to lead tours and answer questions about the artwork and criminal justice system. For more information on the work of the Trust see their website

Jo Coles

Working in communications and public affairs for 15 years, Jo brings her expertise in the political and voluntary sector to deliver high-quality, politically sensitive campaigns and communications.

At Crest, Jo develops strategic communications and stakeholder engagement plans, ensuring an organisation maximises its outreach. Jo writes engaging content and influences news coverage using both stories and campaigns. She combines traditional communications with digital and social media to deliver innovative solutions for clients. A fluent French-speaking, Yorkshire mum, Jo is dedicated to social justice.

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