Mr Nicolas Le Bigre
BA Hons, MLitt, OSS
Present Responsibilities: I have been a Teaching Fellow at the Elphinstone Institute since 2016. I am also the Institute's archivist and have been doing archival work since 2012. I help maintain the Elphinstone Institute's social media platforms and, alongside Institute administrator, Alison Sharman, maintain the Institute's website.
Teaching: See teaching tab.
Archives: I train our students, staff, and partners in cataloguing, deal with accessioning new materials, work as the archives liaison for internal and external researchers, supervise archives interns and project staff, and, with Institute Director, Tom McKean, work to modernize the archive's database. I also maintain and manage the fieldwork equipment of the Institute.
Past Experience: For 18 months from 2011 to 2012 I worked in the Village Carols Archives as a cataloguer, transferring and digitising audio onto an archive server, and accessioning fieldwork recordings into a card-based indexing system.
From 2005–2010 I worked as an English teacher in schools and in businesses in Japan and in France.
I am French-American and was born and raised in Washington, D.C., USA.
- MLitt Ethnology and Folklore2011 - University of AberdeenMLitt with Distinction - Dissertation Topic: Polish Immigrant-Experience Narratives in North-East Scotland
- BA (Hons) East Asian Studies, Aboriginal (Indigenous) Studies, French2005 - University of Toronto
Memberships and Affiliations
- Internal Memberships
- Member of the Teaching and Learning Committee of the School of Language, Literature, Music, and Visual Culture
- Member of the Learning and Teaching Network
- External Memberships
- The Folklore Society – Council Member
- Eurethno – Scotland Representative
- American Folklore Society – Member
- SIEF (Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore) – Member
- Scottish Records Association – Member
- Federation of Folk and Traditional Music Collections – Founding Member
- North East Scotland Heritage Network – Member
- The Folklore Fellows (Finnish Academy of Science and Letters) – Associate Member
Prizes and Awards
- The Scottish Samurai, Legendary Award (2019)
My research interests include personal-experience narrative, immigration and immigrant folklore, oral history, vernacular religion, memorialisation, and political material culture.
I research the personal-experience narratives of immigrants in Scotland. Through these narratives, I examine broad concepts of immigrant experience, such as home, space and time, religion and spirituality, as well as the movement and interconnectedness of place and people. This research is not a collection of statistical data, but rather an attempt to consider and understand individuals' creative expressions of and interactions with everyday life in Scotland. In other words, I document and try to understand how people express their experiences of immigration through their own stories about their lives.
Lockdown Lore Collection Project
I also co-ordinate the Lockdown Lore Collection Project, which is a crowdsourced project launched in April 2020. The projecthas been collecting creative responses to the coronavirus pandemic and has received over 450 submissions from around the world. Supplementing these contributions are the over sixty interviews conducted by a team of volunteer fieldworkers. Read more about the project here: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/public-engagement/LockdownLore.php
Folklore, as a discipline, emphasizes responsibility to contributors and community. With that in mind, I have coordinated the Polish-Scottish Song Group at the Elphinstone Institute since the autumn of 2012. The group exists to promote the exchange of traditional Scottish and Polish culture through the sharing of song. The group has performed across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and continues to grow every year.
I also organise annual storytelling events, including the Aberdeen event in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, sponsored by the Scottish Storytelling Centre. We have hosted storytellers from across Scotland, as well as Poland, Brazil, Pakistan, Brittany, and Canada.
I am also an enthusiastic volunteer in wider-community events, and have filmed and recorded for community groups and festivals.
I supervise MLitt students in the completion of their MLitt dissertations.
A list of completed dissertations at the Elphinstone Institute can be found here: https://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/programmes-study/dissertations.php
As a Teaching Fellow I teach on the Elphinstone Institute's MLitt programme and its undergraduate Scottish Folklore and Oral Traditions course. Subjects that I teach include 'major' and 'minor' narrative genres (e.g. folktales, legends, jokes), personal-experience narrative, immigrant folklore, digital folklore, ethnographic film theory, material culture and memorialisation, fieldwork practice and theory, and cataloguing and archiving.
EF5003 (MLitt) - History, Core Genres, and Methodologies of Ethnology and Folklore
EF5004 (MLitt) - Perspectives on Tradition, Identity, and Fieldwork (Course Co-ordinator)
EF5503 (MLitt) - Oral Traditions
EF5504 (MLitt) - Intellectual and Practical Approaches to Scottish Contexts
EF5505 (MLitt) - Dissertation Supervision
EF2501 (Undergraduate) - Scottish Folklore and Oral Traditions
EF3501 (Undergraduate) - Scottish Folklore and Oral Traditions
EF4501 (Undergraduate) - Scottish Folklore and Oral Traditions
Non-course Teaching Responsibilities
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The Lockdown Lore Collection Project: Documenting Creative Responses to the Coronavirus PandemicContributions to Conferences: Papers
Concepts of Integration in the Personal-Experience Narratives of Scotland’s ImmigrantsContributions to Conferences: Papers
Simultaneously Navigating 'Now' and 'Then' in Immigrants' Personal-Experience NarrativesContributions to Conferences: Papers
Rehearsing the Future in the Personal-Experience NarrativeContributions to Conferences: Papers
W. F. H. Nicolaisen (1927–2016)Folk Music Journal, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 97-101Contributions to Journals: Articles
‘I Was Waiting and It Was June and the Warmth Never Came’: Immigrant Notions of ‘Integration’ in North-East ScotlandContributions to Conferences: Papers
In Memoriam W. F. H. NicolaisenContributions to Conferences: Papers
Talking About "Home": Immigrant Narratives as Context for Third-Culture KidsMigration, Diversity, and Education. Derwin, F., Benjamin, S. (eds.). Palgrave MacmillanChapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters (Peer-Reviewed)
Bureaucracy as Metaphorical Border in Immigrant-Experience NarrativesContributions to Conferences: Papers
Overview of Elphinstone Institute ArchivesContributions to Conferences: Papers