Impermanent edge: eastern eroding shorelines by Helen Goodwin

My interest in and work on impermanence for the past two decades has, in recent years, focused especially on eroding coastlines in East Yorkshire, where I once had a small wooden cottage that was taken by the sea, and East Sussex, where I currently live.  My work is responsive and site-specific, often taking the materials of place to create images and spaces that are impermanent and will disappear over time.

I was thrilled to receive a micro-commission from Penned in the Margins last September to create a live site-specific piece this June in response to the rapidly disappearing coastline of Skipsea, East Yorkshire, focusing on the erosion and its effects on the local community. 

During my last stay there, in March, I prepared to make work on the wide expansive beach revealed at low tide beneath the eroding clay cliffs.  The weather turned fierce when I arrived and  in this blown, rain-swept shoreline environment I made unexpected work in response to the forceful winds that contribute to the erosion of land.  I also met with the very friendly locals, collecting some stories, and returned home just days before lockdown.   But the changed situation meant postponement of intended exhibitions in East Yorkshire, in Skipsea and Hull.

Instead, an online visual journey of work, reflecting the impermanence of the edge and shifting coastal landscapes and geology, was created.   Selected organisations and galleries have offered to host one image each on their websites for a short period, before it disappears and is briefly replaced by words.  This disappearance of image progressively disrupts the online tour, just as the coastal edge vanishes into impermanent memory, occasionally attempted to be retained in written and visual record.

To follow the tour click on the link:

The tour is supported by Laurence Hill, the former director of Brighton digital festival, now an independent digital curator.

Helen Goodwin July 2020


About Helen Goodwin

Helen’s practice is largely site responsive and performative, often working in chosen outdoor locations, and with an emphasis on impermanence.  The particular locality, both people and place, is the basis and provides materials that feed into her work.  Her focus is on issues of place, space and belonging using material culture as well as found geology, and other materials of place. She is particularly interested in the ever-changing edges of landscapes which has led her to look further at ideas around environmental impermanence.


She continues her practice through exhibitions and residencies and has works in international private and institutional collections.


Helen Goodwin 2020

Drawing the Wind, Skipsea by Helen Goodwin