Miranda Pennell studied contemporary dance before she started working with the moving image. She has an MA in visual anthropology from Goldsmiths College, and a PhD from the department of Media, Art & Design at the University of Westminster.

Pennell’s film and video work exploring forms of collective performance, including titles such as Tattoo (2001), Human Radio (2002) and Fisticuffs (2004), has won many awards, has been widely broadcast internationally and presented in festival and gallery contexts. Her recent and current moving-image work has used archival materials as the starting point for a reflection on the colonial imaginary. Why Colonel Bunny Was Killed (2010) was awarded best international film at the 2011 Images Festival, Toronto, and  Courtisane Festival of Film & Media Art, Ghent.  Her feature-length film The Host (2015) reworks the image archive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and family photographs taken by her own father. The Host toured selected UK art-house cinemas in 2016, and was awarded the 2017 Punto de Vista Award for Best Film at the International Documentary Film Festival of Navarra (Spain).

She has worked as a freelance commercials director, as a lecturer on film, video and performance practices, and she also writes and curates from time to time.

Selected one-person screenings include retrospective programmes at Stuttgart FilmWinter Festival for Expanded Media (2019), Filmmuseum Munich (2017), Photofilm: Sampling the Archive, Institut Français, Budapest (2017), Choreocinema: Siobhan Davies & Miranda Pennell, Barbican, London (2017), Irish Film Institute, Dublin (2016), Close Up Cinema, London (2016), retrospectives at Glasgow Short Film Festival (2011), Vienna International Shorts (2011),  Tampere Short Film Festival (2009) Oberhausen Short Film Festival (2006). Group  exhibitions include Dance Images, Neues Museum Nuremberg (2019), All Systems Go, Cooper Gallery, Dundee (2016),  Europe – The Future of History, Kunsthaus Zurich (2015), and The World Turned Upside Down,  Mead Gallery (2013).