Esther Cheung is the supply chain reporting fellow at the Global Reporting Centre. Esther is a multidisciplinary artist and creative, focused on nonfiction storytelling through drawing and animation. She holds a degree in animation and currently works in the commercial industry. She is pursuing her master’s degree in journalism at the University of British Columbia’s School of Journalism, Writing and Media, and is interested in working at the intersection of art and reportage.
As the 2021-22 supply chain reporting fellow, Esther will be working on stories related to the plastics industry, supply chain snarls, and will contribute reporting and research to ongoing Hidden Costs of Global Supply Chains projects.
Q&A with Esther
Can you tell me a bit about your background?
I’m an animator and filmmaker and have been working in the commercial animation industry for the past few years. I have a Bachelor in Animation Arts from Sheridan College, located about an hour west of my hometown Markham. I’ve been drawing for as long as I remember and am especially interested in the documentary medium. As I delved deeper into the animation industry, it was rare to find the medium being used for nonfiction in a high-quality way. Drawings always seemed like the medium of last resort – I want to change that.
What are your areas of interest/what would you like to report on?
I think I am still trying to figure out my niche – I come from an arts background and am a drawer first and foremost, which greatly influences the way I see the world. As a visually inclined person, I am drawn to stories that are visually compelling. Oftentimes, this tends to reveal itself in my great fascination with cultures and the people that form them. I enjoy focusing on understanding the choices people make and understanding the context under which they were chosen. Currently, I am interested in people, the migration of people and the fusions of cultures that form when they rebel against assimilation.
Why were you interested in applying for the Hidden Costs of Global Supply Chains Student Fellowship?
There is a lot to be said about the way the world is connected now. I was always curious about my personal impact and the ripples I make with one small action: a purchase, a post, my choice of tomato at the grocery store. Our globalized world causes our personal actions to affect much more than we can immediately see. I am interested in the ramifications of my actions and choices and hope that I can not only better understand my responsibility as a global citizen but make bigger waves of change.
What drew you to the GRC?
The quality storytelling drew me first and foremost to the GRC. But I found that the particular stories showcased really reeled me in. I wanted to take part in telling impactful stories.
Are there any aspects of investigating global supply chains that you’re particularly interested in?
I am interested in the human side of stories. I am particularly interested in how people are affected by decisions that they did not make. Stories of labour abuses and corruption definitely interest me.