Take a digital journey across England’s eroding coastline

Blog | Published on August 4, 2020

Helen Goodwin’s photographic series Impermanent Edge is a personal meditation on landscape and loss, and is the latest commission for our Edgelandia project.

In 1990 Helen Goodwin’s cliff-top cottage in Skipsea, East Yorkshire was swept into the sea. The experience, she says, made her “keenly aware of how communities are forced to resettle and share a sense of impermanence of place; how the earth is forever re-forming and moving, and yet there seems to be an invisible thread that appears to connect us to ‘fixed place’ through the stories and memories we weave into localities.” Before the cottage disappeared, Goodwin removed a wooden chair; and this piece of furniture has moved with her as she migrated down the coast to Hull and then to Brighton.


Today the artist launches a photographic project charting the marginal landscapes that are under threat of erosion from the North Sea. Originally conceived with the participation of local coastal communities, the making of Impermanent Edge was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The project has now been transformed into a virtual tour with the help of eight galleries on the east and south coasts of England. Goodwin says: “In mid March, during my last site visit, a perfect environment offered itself for me to make new and unexpected work in response to the forceful winds, low tide and wide expansive beach. I made work, met with the lovely locals collecting some of their stories and managed to only just return home days before lockdown”.



From Tuesday 4 August 2020, the participating organisations will display one of Goodwin’s photographs on their website. Each image will then be taken down in sequence. “This disappearance,” says Goodwin, “progressively disrupts the online tour, just as the coastal edge vanishes into impermanent memory, occasionally attempted to be retained in written and visual record.”



The photographs can viewed by following the links below. For more information about the project and to read two accompanying essays by the artist, visit www.edgelandia.com


  1. ONCA Gallery, Brighton
  2. GroundWork Gallery, Kings Lynn
  3. University of Hull – Energy and Environment Institute
  4. The Critical Fish – Hull
  5. Feral Art School – Hull
  6. Climate Museum UK – a mobile digital museum
  7. Scarborough Art Gallery – Scarborough
  8. The Pannett Art Gallery – Whitby



Impermanent Edge was commissioned by Penned in the Margins for Edgelandia. The visual tour was developed through and with the kind support of Laurence Hill, the former director of Brighton Digital Festival, now an independent digital curator.

Helen Goodwin is a walker, visual artist and educator. Her work focuses on the human connections to place, and the impermanence of place. Her work typically takes place in outdoor and usually remote locations, using the materials of place such as earth, water, chalk, charcoals. Helen’s recent work has been exhibited in The Netherlands, Sweden, UK and Japan. She is the recipient of the Edgelandia 2019/20 Open Call.

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