Jennifer Otter Bickerdike
Dr. Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a media and music academic and historian, specializing in fan culture, the cult of dead celebrity, pop culture and music.
She has written and presented extensively on fandom, music and media, using her experience as a former American music industry and Silicon Valley executive to explore a range of societal issues and behaviours. A recovering Anglophile herself, Jen has released several books about fan culture, including 2014’s Fandom, Image and Authenticity: Joy Devotion and the Second Lives of Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis (Palgrave MacMillan); 2015’s The Secular Religion of Fandom (Sage); and the forthcoming 2016 release Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture. Jen was also featured as an expert on pop music and culture in the 2014 Channel 4 Christmas Day documentary Frozen at Christmas, as well as on Absolute Radio’s 2013 30 Years of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance.
Jennifer is regularly asked to speak at conferences and public lectures around the world on various aspects of music and media, from symposiums on branding and promotion to talks on the cultural history of the 27 Club. She has spoken at a range of institutions including Google, Goldsmiths University of London, the Annual Association of Event Management Education, Experience Music Project Seattle, San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival, XOYO and the BBC, on areas as diverse as the rise of celebrity culture, the tragic gothic heroine, and dark tourism.
Originally from California, Jen spent time at a variety of record companies, including Sony Music, MCA Records and Universal Music & Video Distribution before becoming the West Coast Marketing Director for Interscope Geffen A&M Records at 25. She toured with and devised marketing and branding campaigns for major international acts including Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Dr. Dre, Gwen Stefani, U2 and Eminem, before leaving to start her own consulting company, working with a wide array of creative industry and technology tastemakers, such as Facebook, Music for America, Adeline Records and L.A.M.B. After friend Hunter McPherson was murdered in San Francisco, Jennifer decided to quit her job, sell everything she owned and roll the dice on fulfilling a life long dream of living in England. Her story of transformation was picked from thousands and featured in New York Times best-selling author Marlo Thomas’s book, It Ain’t Over ‘Till Its Over.
Jen is currently a Senior Lecturer and Program Leader in Music and Branding at Buckinghamshire New University. In 2013, she won the coveted Student Led Teaching award for Most Innovative Lecturer and was short listed for the same accolade on a national level by the Times Higher Education. Jen is currently working on a project about the importance of vinyl records and another subject close to her heart, the re-emergence of yacht rock in the 21st century. To find out more about what Jen is up to, please visit her website.