After training as a dancer in the 1980s Miranda Pennell’s practice shifted from dance and live choreography to film direction, where she went on to create numerous films based around performance and choreography in everyday life.  In 2010 she enrolled at Goldsmiths College to study for an MA in Visual Anthropology, after which she undertook her PhD at the Centre for Research in Education in Arts and Media at University of Westminster. She received her PhD in 2016 for her feature-length film The Host’ and her thesis Film as an Archive for Colonial Photographs. The Host, based on the visual archive of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, subsequently toured the UK with the Independent Cinema Office.

Miranda Pennell’s award-winning films have been widely screened internationally in cinemas, galleries and on broadcast TV. Her recent re-workings of materials from British colonial archives have screened at major film festivals that include London, Rotterdam, Berlin, New York, and Vienna. 

Selected one-person screenings include retrospective programmes at Stuttgart FilmWinter Festival for Expanded Media (2019), Choreography and Archives, 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 Evil Eye: the parallel histories of ballistics and optics at Tabakalera (forthcoming 2023) Centre for Contemporary Culture , San Sebastian;  Intersectional Geographies (2022) Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol, Tanzbilder, New Museum for Art and Design, Nuremberg (2019), Lahore Biennale 02 (2018), All Systems Go, Cooper Gallery, Dundee (2016),  Europe – The Future of History, Kunsthaus Zurich (2015), and The World Turned Upside Down,  Mead Gallery (2013).

In 2022-3 Miranda is artist in residence at the School of Law at Birkbeck College.