Rachel Lau (BMS, Media Studies)

Rachel Lau (they/them) is a queer Cantonese artist, writer, and radio producer based in what’s colonially known as “Vancouver”. Through sound art, photography, and zine-making, they contemplate what it means to experience longing in a world that is transient. Lau is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Media Studies program, with a minor in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration studies. Currently, they are a co-librarian of Queer Reads Library, a mobile library of queer books and zines founded in Hong Kong and presented internationally.

Why did you declare a minor in ACAM? What drew you to the program?

Growing up in Vancouver’s Chinatown, I always knew who I was as a Chinese person living in “Canada”, but I did not understand the significance of my identity. I was drawn to ACAM because I wanted to learn about myself and people who looked like me in this context. It was the kindness and wisdom of fellow ACAM classmates and dear friends Jane Shi, amanda wan, Yulanda Lui, and Christy Fong that pushed my second year self to join ACAM — one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What connections and ideas were you able to foster through ACAM?

We are nothing without our communities. While it was easy to get lost in the literature or the research, ACAM faculty and classmates continually reminded me that the knowledge we have is owed to the communities we work with.

Have you completed any projects through or related to an ACAM course? If so, could you share your experiences?

The projects I am most proud of are the ones that were made possible through expanding on the ideas and relationships I have built through various ACAM courses. In 2017, I co-curated a listening party with Christy Fong, which featured archival recordings from Pender Guy Radio, the first English-language Chinese Canadian radio program produced in Canada. Most recently, I was the Project Coordinator for Speak My Language, an intergenerational, multilingual radio documentary series focused on the language barriers faced by Chinese seniors accessing healthcare in BC. I had the immense pleasure of working with Yarrow Intergenerational Society for Justice and ACAM alumnus Yulanda Lui to produce this series. You can learn more about the project here: yarrowsociety.ca/speakmylanguage. Both projects were made possible through the support of the Quan Lee Excellence Fund and for that I am eternally grateful.

What is one piece of advice you would give your first-year self?

Be kinder to yourself. The people, the lessons, the opportunities will come. Everything in its time, dear one.