“Audience”: Responses to the BCMCR theme“Audience” from the Popular Music cluster

Date & Time:

26th April, 16:00


The event will be hybrid: face-to-face in P132 (1st floor Parkside), and online.
Online registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/responses-to-the-bcmcr-theme-audience-popular-music-cluster-online-tickets-597779613917

In-person registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/responses-to-the-bcmcr-themeaudience-from-the-popular-music-cluster-f2f-tickets-597804708977

This Popular Music Research cluster research seminar is dedicated to the current BCMCR theme “Audience” and will include two distinctive sections. First, we will welcome our guest speaker Mark Duffett of University of Chester who will be presenting a talk on tropes of empowerment in autobiographies written by female pop and rock music fans. The second part of the seminar will involve members of the Popular Music cluster discussing a collaborative playlist which they associate with their experiences as members of a popular music audience.

Dr. Mark Duffett (University of Chester) Female Fan Autobiography: A Tale of Four Fandoms

Fans are dedicated members of the popular music audience and when music stars write autobiographies, their fans often want to read about them. If fans decide to write about their own lives, however ¬- beyond perhaps family, friends and a few others in their communities – there is no guarantee of a readership. This imbalance of popularity appears, in a sense, to parallel one of social status: rock and pop artists are famous individuals, and in some interpretations, that means their followers are not empowered. So, when female fans write about their own lives, what tropes do they use, how do they counter assumptions of disempowerment, and how do they portray their life stories in ways that resonate with their audiences? We can study fandom in at least four ways: using the mass culture critique, the notion of parasocial interaction, ideas about totemism and participatory culture. Using four autobiographies by white female pop and rock fans as case study material, my talk will suggest that engaging with these various paradigms allows us to see how the writers persuade readers. Autobiographies show that female fandom is not like its stereotypes and operates differently to powerless celebrity following.

“Us, the Audience”: Playlist and short talks from Popular Music Research cluster members

In this part of the session, we will be presenting to you a playlist under the working title “Us, the Audience”. Each participant in this experimental element of today’s seminar has picked one song that they associate with their own experience as (a member of) a popular music audience. For some this song could, for example, symbolise their own “greatest audience experience” or an experience they never had… We will be using the songs as vehicles to conceptualise an audience and to explore how this has influenced our own research in popular music culture.

Here is a link to our playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2FpDtgDKdlT0NEdgkzOFZc?si=b63fdea28f02426d&pt=ba867b8e803f8d639603289e76d9fd44

Note: you will need a Spotify account to access the playlist.

Each song from the playlist will be accompanied by a brief talk presented by whoever chose it. Participants include: Asya Draganova, Laura Hind, Matt Grimes, Rosemary Williams, Tim Wall, Pedro Cravinho, Sam Coley, Benjamin Torrens, and our guest speaker for today – Mark Duffett.

Dr Mark Duffett studied at Oxford University, where he received a first-class BA in geography in 1991. After completing an MA on Canadian music at UBC in Vancouver in 1993, he did a PhD on Elvis fandom in 1999 at the University of Wales, examined by Simon Frith. Since then, Dr Duffett has taught at the University of Chester, where he currently works as an Associate Professor, and has established himself as an international scholar in popular music studies and fan studies. As a Gales-listed author, he has published the monographs, Understanding Fandom (Bloomsbury, 2013), Counting Down Elvis (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), and Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback Phenomenon (Equinox, 2020). With Dr Jon Hackett, he also co-wrote Scary Monsters: Monstrosity, Masculinity and Popular Music (Bloomsbury, 2021). Dr Duffett has published many other edited books, book chapters and articles, including a piece for The Guardian. His work has also been translated into French, Portugese and Korean. His writings and comments have also been quoted in various media outlets, including The New York Times, New Yorker, Vogue in Japan, Rolling Stone magazine, the Washington Post and BBC World Service. He has been a keynote speaker at La Nouvelle Sorbonne in Paris, University of the Algarve in Portugal, University of Cardiff, and Sibelius Academy in Finland. He has also been an invited speaker at conferences held by universities based in Moscow and Rotterdam.