Mr Nicolas Le Bigre

Mr Nicolas Le Bigre
BA Hons (University of Toronto), MLitt (University of Aberdeen), OSS

Teaching Fellow

Mr Nicolas Le Bigre
Mr Nicolas Le Bigre

Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen The Elphinstone Institute MacRobert Building University of Aberdeen King's College Aberdeen AB24 5UA Tel: 01224 272997


Staff Responsibilities

Teaching Fellow: I teach on our MLitt programme and our 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.

Archives: As the individual responsible for the everyday management of the Elphinstone Institute Archives, I train our students and staff 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.

Website and Social Media: I maintain the Elphinstone Institute's social media platforms and, alongside Institute administrator, Alison Sharman, help maintain the Institute's website. Please contact me if you would like the Elphinstone Institute to upload news to our social media pages or website.

Public Engagement

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 the annual Aberdeen event in the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, sponsored by the Scottish Storytelling Centre. The event has hosted storytellers from Poland, Aberdeen, Shetland, Orkney, 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.

Conference Organisation

In July 2014, I co-founded and co-organised FEECA 2014, an international early-career conference in Aberdeen. I also advised for the subsequent FEECA 2016, and formed a partnership between the Elphinstone Institute and The Folklore Society, which involves co-funding across the Institute's FEECA conferences and The Folklore Society's Newer Researchers' Conferences. I am currently advising the co-organisers of the upcoming FEECA 2020.

I co-organised the W. F. H. Nicolaisen Memorial Symposium in July 2017.

Doctoral Studies

I am a doctoral candidate researching immigrant-experience narratives in the North-East of Scotland. See the research tab for more information.

Professional Memberships

American Folklore Society
The Folklore Society
SIEF (Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore)
The Folklore Fellows (Finnish Academy of Science and Letters), Associate Member

Education and Career History

I have been a Teaching Fellow at the Institute since 2016, and have worked in the archives since 2012. I began my PhD research on a full-studentship in 2012.

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.

In 2011, I received an MLitt with distinction in Ethnology and Folklore from the University of Aberdeen. My dissertation was on Polish immigrant-experience narratives in Aberdeen and its surroundings.

From 2005–2010 I worked as an English teacher, both in schools and in businesses. From 2005 to 2006 I taught at two Junior High Schools in Yamaguchi Prefecture as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. I then went on to teach English in Paris, France for three years, before moving to Scotland to study Ethnology and Folklore in 2010.

In 2005, I graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor's Degree, majoring in East Asian Studies and minoring in Aboriginal Studies and French.

I am French-American and was born and raised in Washington, D.C., USA.


Research Interests

My research interests include personal-experience narrative, immigration and immigrant folklore, oral history, vernacular religion, memorialisation, and political material culture.

Current Research

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, how do people express their experiences of immigration through their own stories about their lives?

Reflexive ethnographic analysis of these narratives provides new fieldwork-derived perspectives on immigrant life, providing ground-level context for understanding immigrant experience.

This research does not examine contributors through a specifically national lens, but rather through the lens of immigrant experience in general. These contributors are linked less by their countries of birth and more by the experiential commonalities experienced by various groups and individuals who have moved to the the North-East of Scotland.


Teaching Responsibilities

EF5003 (MLitt) - History, Core Genres, and Methodologies of Ethnology and Folklore

EF5004 (MLitt) - Perspectives on Tradition, Identity, and Fieldwork

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

Further Info


‘W. F. H. Nicolaisen (1927–2016)’, Folk Music Journal, 11, no. 2 (2016), pp. 97–101.

'Talking About "Home": Immigrant Narratives as Context for Third-Culture Kids' in Migrant Children, Mobility and Education: Beyond Third Culture Kids, ed. by Saija Benjamin and Fred Derwin (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015).

Studentships and Awards

Margaret Jones Studentship - Full funding for PhD Research (2012–2015)

Principal's Excellence Fund (2015)

University of Aberdeen Graduate Committee Conference Grant (2013 & 2014)


‘Concepts of Integration in the Personal-Experience Narratives of Scotland’s Immigrants’
Humboldt-Kolleg (Migrations and Identity in European History: Communities, Connections, Conflicts), IaČ™i, Romania, September 2019

‘Simultaneously Navigating 'Now' and 'Then' in Immigrants' Personal-Experience Narratives’
Societé Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) 14th Congress, Santiago di Compostela, Spain, April 2019

‘Rehearsing the Future in the Personal-Experience Narrative’
W. F. H. Nicolaisen Memorial Symposium, Aberdeen, July 2017

‘In Memoriam W. F. H. Nicolaisen’
Folklore, Ethnology, and Ethnomusicology Conference Aberdeen (FEECA) 2016, Aberdeen, July 2016

‘The Role of the Ethnologist’
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, June 2016

‘Bureaucracy as Metaphorical Border in Immigrant-Experience Narratives’
Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) 12th Congress, Zagreb, Croatia, July 2015

‘Overview of the Elphinstone Institute Archives’
Folklore Fellows Summer School, Seili Island, Finland, June 2015

‘Immigrant-Experience Narratives in a Digital Context’
Folklore Fellows Summer School, Seili Island, Finland, June 2015

‘Considering Home(s): Transnational Voices from North-East Scotland’
Scottish Universities Insight Institute Seminar, Glasgow, December 2014

Folklore Society Newer Researchers' Conference, London, 20 November, 2014

‘Vernacular Religion: Immigrant Perspectives from North-East Scotland’
American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Santa Fe, New Mexico, November 2014

‘Talking About Home: Immigrant Narratives from the North-East of Scotland’
Association of Social Anthropology Decennial Conference, Edinburgh, July 2014

‘Considering Home: Immigrant Voices from North-East Scotland’
Folklore, Ethnology, and Ethnomusicology Conference Aberdeen (FEECA), Aberdeen, July 2014

‘Dynamic Concepts of Home: Immigrant Narratives from the North-East of Scotland’
Société Internationale d´Ethnologie et de Folklore (SIEF) 11th Congress, Tartu, Estonia, July 2013