Helen Yeung


NameHelen Yeung 楊希琳 (she/they)
Country of BirthHong Kong
Place of ResidenceGuåhan Guam, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
EthnicitiesHong Kong Chinese
ArtformZines, Socially engaged art
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Helen Yeung is a feminist scholar, zinemaker, community organiser, and the founder of Migrant Zine Collective, an organisation that seeks to amplify, celebrate and share the voices of migrants of colour through self-publishing, community arts and activism, both locally in Aotearoa and on an international level.

Yeung's work is centred on using zinemaking to create a space that challenges white-dominated power structures and allows for communities of colour to express themselves in unapologetic, critical and disruptive ways. Her work includes facilitating community workshops and events and curating publications that provide a platform for critical discussions around issues such as gendered-racialised identity, intersectional feminism, migrational and diasporic experiences, Indigenous solidarities, disability justice and movement-building.

Through Migrant Zine Collective, Yeung has been instrumental in establishing culturally accessible workshops and community spaces for migrants of colour, particularly women and marginalised genders, to engage with zinemaking and DIY practices in Aotearoa. Writing about the possibilities that zines offer, Yeung has said, “…zines are able to break the traditional boundaries of who can be published and who can’t. As someone involved in academia and working in the media industry, there’s always a sense of elitism and struggle for those that do not have enough social following or are stopped by language barriers. Migrant Zine Collective wants to break that”

Yeung is a 1.5-generation Hong Kong Chinese migrant who migrated to Aotearoa in the mid-’90s with her parents. Growing up in a predominantly Pākehā neighbourhood, her experiences in navigating discrimination, cultural and linguistic barriers, as well as feelings of isolation in her youth, deeply impacted their drive towards starting Migrant Zine Collective and ultimately led to the creation of Gen M the first Migrant Zine Collective publication. Her drive to illuminate the shared experiences of other migrants of colour in Aotearoa underpins much of her work. Motifs of Cantonese snack foods and pop culture, collage, line-art illustration, and meme-style visuals are common in Yeung’s practice. Her aesthetic style calls back to memories of ‘90s and ‘00s migrant childhoods, whilst also simultaneously (re)presenting them in a contemporary context, such as with emojis or in online meme formats. This can be distinctly seen in Racialised Memes 4 the Disoriented Teen (2019), Have you ever been with an Asian woman before? (2020), and Memories of Mercury Plaza (2022).

Yeung has also contributed to academic discourse around alternative forms of community-building and knowledge-sharing for migrant communities of colour. Emphasising the collaborative capabilities of DIY arts practices and the feminist autonomy of online spaces is crucial to Yeung’s scholarly work. In 2020, they ran the Asian Feminist Project Aotearoa as part of their Master’s thesis, which explored how a prescribed set of prompts and interactive activities could facilitate feminist conversations with Asian migrant women through Instagram and their mobile phones.

Yeung is currently completing their doctoral research at Auckland University of Technology under the School of Communications Studies, further investigating digital technologies as a transformative and liberatory tool for women of colour and marginalised genders. She is an Adjunct Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Guam, where she lectures on self-publishing, graphic design and the fundamentals of communication through a critical praxis.


Key works / presentations

2022 — Zine-Making and Migrant Justice [Hybrid Panel]. Harvard Immigration Project, Harvard Law School

2021 — Anti-Racist Soup Zine Workshop + Collection Viewing, invited workshop with Grace Gassin and Te Papa, Pōneke

2020 — Asian Feminist Project Aotearoa

2019 — MEME-A-ZINE: POC Meme Making Workshop, invited workshop with White_mess in collaboration with NZ International Comedy Festival, Equity NZ, Tāmaki Makaurau

2018 — Realign The Margins: AAAH Zine Club, invited workshop for Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui, Massey University Library, Pōneke

2017 — Activist Zine Making Workshop: An Exploration of Gender, invited workshop with Musubi Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

2017 — GEN M zine

Related entries

Last updated: 14 April 2024 Suggest an Edit


A black and white photograph of a father and daughter with their faces pasted over with illustrated cartoons of their faces.

Helen Yeung, collaged photograph of Helen and her father

Two people smiling while manning a table displaying various colourful zines.

Migrant Zine Collective at Auckland Zinefest, 2019

Four people seated with microphones on a stage with a projection behind displaying the words "Political Zines".

Helen speaking on a panel about political zines, 2021

Photo sourced from Auckland Zinefest