© Serena Burgis, from the series Homecoming, 2023.

Focal Point Commission features Sally Barton, Serena Burgis and Yuxi Hou 
Photoworks and English Heritage’s Shout Out Loud partner to support young artists in commission programme.  


Photoworks and English Heritage’s youth engagement programme Shout Out Loud have joined forces to launch the Focal Point Commission. This initiative supports three emerging artists – Sally Barton, Serena Burgis and Yuxi Hou – in a residency programme focused on exploring and redefining heritage through the lens of contemporary photography.

The Focal Point Commission provides a unique opportunity for these artists to immerse themselves in England’s cultural and historical narratives, using historic sites in the care of charity English Heritage as their creative canvas. Selected for their distinctive perspectives and innovative approaches to photography, the artists will spend dedicated time at a site of personal and local significance, capturing new perspectives on heritage, community, identity and place. All three have chosen ancient stone circles – from Dorset to Derbyshire as the focus of their work, all of which are free to enter for visitors.

Louise Fedotov-Clements, Director of Photoworks said: “It’s exciting to provide talented artists with the platform and opportunity to support their creativity and to make new works. Photoworks is passionately committed to championing artists at every aspect of their careers, offering support and encouragement along their artistic journey. Our unique collaboration with English Heritage enables the best emerging talents to develop new enduring and meaningful perspectives in relation to a range of incredible heritage sites, through photography and community engagement. ”

Dr Kirsty McCarrison, Senior Youth Engagement Manager at English Heritage said:

“We are excited to embark on this project, working with these talented young artists.  Through our Shout Out Loud programme we collaborate with young people to help foster a deeper connection to our shared history.  Photography offers a great way to explore perceptions of heritage, and engender a sense of belonging, ownership and relevance and we can’t wait to see the finished work”.

The Commission is an integral part of a wider collaboration between Photoworks and English Heritage, contributing to Shout Out Loud, English Heritage’s national youth engagement programme. This partnership aims to empower young people to explore heritage sites across England, uncovering hidden stories and putting their ideas at the forefront of English Heritage’s mission.



About the artists:

Sally Barton is a photographer and artist born in Sheffield and based in London. Her practice explores her relationship with her hometown of Sheffield, its industrial history and landscape. Barton reimagines the aesthetics of the North of England through photography, performance and installation. Barton has been selected for the Focal Point Commission, with the historic Nine Ladies Stone Circle in Derbyshire as her chosen site. Inspired by the site’s folk traditions, particularly the legend of nine women turned to stone during a Sabbath dance, Barton plans to explore themes of ritual, community, femininity and dance as a form of resistance in her forthcoming work.

Barton graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in 2021 and has recently completed two years on the ACME Associate Studio Programme and Barbican Young Visual Arts Group.

Sally Barton

Serena Burgis is a British-Thai visual artist and photographer currently based in Dorset. Working across performative and contemporary documentary photography, her creative approaches remain intuitive, inviting poetry, portraiture and landscape into her diaristic practice. In recent years, Burgis’ work has been heavily influenced by notions of culture and heritage as she continues to reflect on her intersectional identities as a second generation mixed race woman. In these explorations she has become increasingly fascinated by notions of the unseen and the imagined.

Burgis is drawn to the mysterious history and childhood memories of the Kingston Russel Stone Circle. The etymology of the stones, possibly ‘foreign’ or ‘non-Christian’, intrigues her about how they shape the physical and cultural identity of the English landscape. Burgis seeks to involve Dorset’s first and second generation South Asian community in her images and voices. The re-enactment of community activities will spark conversations about identity, place and belonging.

Serena Burgis

Yuxi Hou is a documentary photographer and socially engaged artist based in Nottingham. As an immigrant and young adult, she’s constantly reflecting on her marginalised position in society, exploring themes of home, identity, migration, memory and family through a sensitive portrayal of human interactions in different communities.

An avid hiker, Yuxi Hou wants to capture the community spirit of the site by weaving together the ancient and modern stories of the Arbor Low Stone Circle.  Hou plans to launch the project with extensive research through local archive centres, organisations and walking groups. Regular visits to the site will involve engaging with people, uncovering personal stories and building deep, lived connections. An online archive of the stone circle is the goal of the project. Hou will also create a notebook for visitors to write about their experiences. To encourage community participation, Hou will hold on-site workshops, including storytelling and art circles, on solidarity and inclusion. The products of these events will be part of the project, celebrating the community and connection of the Arbor Low Stone Circle.

Yuxi Hou


Shout Out Loud provides a platform for young people to explore heritage sites and collections across England, helping them to uncover untold stories from our past. By amplifying their voices, Shout Out Loud puts their ideas and stories at the heart of English Heritage.

Photoworks champions photography for everyone. Global in reach, we have been providing opportunities for artists and audiences since 1995. We don’t have a physical venue, but our online channels are always open. Our programme, which includes the Photoworks Festival – one of the UK’s longest-running photography festivals, brings new experiences to audiences and opens new ways to encounter photography. Photoworks is committed to supporting young artists, helping to develop practice and support career progression.


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