Migrant Zine Collective is an activist-based zine collective aiming to amplify, celebrate and share the voices of migrants of colour in Aotearoa (New Zealand). The collective was founded in 2017 upon the release of GEN M (short for “Generation Migrant”), a zine collated and self-published by Helen Yeung in the hopes of celebrating her Hong Kong-Chinese diasporic background, along with the personal stories of other migrant youth in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). Currently co-organised by Helen and Jasmin Singh, the collective has since expanded its work to a range of zine workshops, community events, pop-up libraries and digital collaborations both locally and around the globe.
Our Politics: Migrant Zine Collective offers a space that is critical of the white-dominated power structures that govern our lived experiences as people of colour. We aim to open up a space where people of colour are able to unapologetically speak up, discuss and unpack critical issues in mainstream society such as sexism, racism, classism and other forms of inequality. This means individuals that come to our workshops, events or submit to our zines are free to express themselves in whatever way they see fit, whether this be language, emotion or tone. Our work is not intended to be palatable to a white audience or dominant groups, therefore we do not encourage any tone-policing of sentiments shared by participants and contributors. Furthermore, as tauiwi (non-Māori) people of colour living on colonised land, we recognise and are committed to confronting the ongoing legacy of colonisation, systemic racism and racial politics that are specific to Aotearoa.
Our Work: Migrant Zine Collective has facilitated workshops in partnership with a number of local organisations and community groups. This includes Auckland Libraries, Shakti New Zealand, Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku, Aotearoa Asian Arts Hui, Massey University, Mairangi Arts Centre, First Thursdays, Albert-Eden Local Board, NZ International Comedy Festival, Strange Goods, Te Manawa and Shared Lines Collaborative.
Internationally, we have worked closely with a number of organisations and groups, including Musubi Hong Kong, Kon Len Knhom (an art centre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and Imagined Migrant Futures (a community research project in Western Australia). In 2019, we successfully launched our first Migrant Zine POP-UP Library at Sticky Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Our works have also been featured in various countries including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Cambodia, Australia and the US, with our most recent displays at Xerox Days Zine Market, Story Street (a mobile decolonial library space) in Australia, Hong Kong Art Book Fair 2020 and the Birdo Flugas gallery in Sendai, Japan.
Our Inspirations: Our work is inspired by Shakti Youth, a group of young people from Asian, African and Middle Eastern backgrounds passionate about social justice and building towards a violence-free future in Aotearoa; and Mellow Yellow Aotearoa, a space which has existed since 2006 for Asian feminists to challenge colonialism, racism, sexism and all forms of unjust social hierarchy.