The Little Things

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Actor, writer and film-maker, Miranda Keeling has lived in Tottenham since she was 11, and this week she launches the "The Little Things" exhibition. The exhibition shows her detailed and loving portrait of the little things of everyday life, illustrated by artists from all around the world.

"The Little Things" started as a solo project and has since captured the imagination of thousands after Miranda joined Twitter in 2011 and began posting observational vignettes. Each post was an observation of the world around her, from people waiting in cafes, to overheard snippets of conversation on the bus: the end result is somewhere between a micro-story and haiku.

Unsolicited, Twitter followers began illustrating her words and sending their pictures. Few artists knew that others were doing the same – they simply illustrated a response and shared it. By happy accident, an informal collection emerged, that is by turns beautiful, surreal, poignant, and comic.

For the first time, this exhibition brings a small selection of that online response into the ‘real’ world.

Miranda specialises in observational writing and has lectured on the subject for Lost Lectures. Her work has featured on Radio 3’s The Verb and the BBC’s Mark Forrest Show. She wrote Tweet-off on the Tyne with Poet Ian McMillan, which aired on Radio 3. Her miniature play ‘Bulldog’ was performed at the Royal Court.

She wrote Panphobia with Ceri Ashcroft and Carbon Footprint Detective Agency with Ray Downing. Both toured, including to the Arcola Theatre.

Rachel Ho had a quick chat to Miranda ahead of the exhibition launch this Friday.

Photo supplied: Miranda Keeling

Where did you grow up and what did your parents do?

I was born in Whitby in Yorkshire and grew up in the States. My mother was an editor. What is your relationship to Tottenham?

I moved here when I was 11 and apart from living away whilst studying, I have been here all my adult life.

How did you get into art and what inspires you?

I began drawing and writing almost as soon as I could hold a pen. I've always loved observing the world and finding ways to interpret what I see.

I'm now an actor and writer.

I did a degree in glassmaking. Glass is a beautiful material to work with.

I love watching human interaction - I find it fascinating.

Photo supplied: Miranda Keeling

What are some of the challenges of doing art as a profession and how do you overcome them?

I guess one of the main challenges of being an artist can be making a living out of it. I wear a lot of different hats as a creative person to make it work. Another challenge is making sure that I concentrate on a particular set of skills and projects - better to do a few things with focus then to do more things with less energy. As a freelancer, I have to rein in a habit of saying yes to too many things.

Photo supplied: Miranda reading her observations on Ian McMillan's show The Verb for Radio 3

As a woman, how do you think Tottenham has changed? What would you like to see change?

Honestly as a woman - growing up in Tottenham had its difficulties sometimes. I used to get a lot of hassle on the street and didn't always feel safe. I think that's changing. I often see women out and about at night on their own now and it feels pretty comfortable. As a mum with a baby (often in a pram) I wish that Seven Sisters underground and overground stations were more accessible.

Favourite thing to do in Tottenham?

A coffee in Craving Coffee followed by a long walk or cycle down the river Lea.  

Anything you would like to add?

I feel proud to be from Tottenham. It feels like home.

Supplied: Artworks by Kristi Moore from "The Little Things Exhibition"

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