Professor Jennifer Otter Bickerdike

Music Ambassador

Professor Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a rock & roll cultural historian and author, working across music heritage, fandom, broadcast and academia.

Jen is currently a Global Music Ambassador for BIMM Institute, a group of eight independent colleges providing the largest creative arts education in Europe. In 2013, she won the coveted Student-Led Teaching award for Most Innovative Lecturer and was shortlisted for the same accolade on a national level by the Times Higher Education.

Jen is a familiar name in the world of pop culture. An academic, writer, presenter and historian, Jennifer has spent her life dedicated to the mistress that is rock n roll. With more than 30 years of experience in the culture industries – ranging from her time as a former music industry executive in the US to surviving three waves of the Dot-com bubble bursting in the Silicon Valley – Jen brings a unique perspective to the discussion of contemporary music and media, which has helped her be featured in over 25 documentaries about music and popular culture.

An avid admitted fangirl herself, Jen's enthusiasm is contagious – her experiences as a practitioner, scholar and provocateur allowing for nonpareil exploration across a range of societal issues and behaviours. Jen's newest project is Being Britney: Pieces of a Modern Icon out on Nine Eight publishers.

A recovering Anglophile herself, Jen has authored several other books on the topics of music, fandom and celebrity cultism, including the critically acclaimed You are Beautiful and You are Alone: The Biography of Nico out on Faber & Faber (UK) and Hachette (USA), #1 bestseller, Why Vinyl Matters (2017); Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture (2016); The Secular Religion of Fandom (2015) and Fandom, Image and Authenticity: Joy Devotion and the Second Lives of Kurt Cobain and Ian Curtis (2014). Jen was also the literary consultant for Will Sergeant of the iconic post-punk band Echo and the Bunnymen with his Sunday Times best-selling debut memoir Bunnyman, available on Hachette/Third Man.

Jen is often asked to commentate, present and interview on the topics of music, heritage and pop culture, with some recent appearances including Sirius Radio, Soho Radio, Cambridge University, Louder Than Words, Long Live Vinyl, TruTV, BBC Radio 6 Music, BBC 4, Camp Bestival, Bestival at Goldsmiths University of London, Channel 4, Bass Guitar Magazine, Absolute Radio, The Guardian, Manchester Off The Record, Liverpool Sound City and Classic Album Sundays.

Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Jen spent time at a variety of record companies, including Sony Music, MCA Records and Universal Music and 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, Dawbell PR, 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 lifelong 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.

© 2022 BIMM Institute
British and Irish Modern Music Institute