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Phil Speirs

Founder and editor

Most of Phil’s friends thought dropping out was an easy option to avoid ‘real work’. Little did they know that many years on the road, exploring foreign lands and delving into mystic cultures, would eventually lead to the setting up of La Chispa, and more hard work than he had ever imagined. Having settled in southern Spain in 2001 and launching La Chispa soon after, Phil has long had an interest in the alternative scene, ecology, natural health and finding a way to live more lightly on the planet. La Chispa has provided the perfect opportunity to bring together these interests with his experience in publishing and a passion for communication and information. Based in the rural hills around Coín, Málaga with partner Kate and two children, Phil is trying to practice what he preaches, having run an organic box delivery scheme in the local area, researching eco-building techniques for personal use and getting to grips with a small Permaculture garden. The compost toilet is next on the list. Recently the Transition Town movement has caught his interest and there is now a group working together in Coin to develop sustainable solutions for their local community under the ‘Coin in Transition’ banner.

Sara Shaikh

Assistant Editor

Sara has been an avid reader of La Chispa since moving to Málaga, and now with her journalistic background, interest in alternative living and linguistic abilities, is very excited to have joined the editorial team. Her work experience includes publishing articles in Spanish magazines as well as being Section Editor for online magazine lecool.com and Neo2. A passion for communication has led her to work as a graphic designer and translator for 10 years. She was born in London and has lived in the UK and California where an interest in the environment, eastern philosophy and healing practices deepened. However with a Spanish mother she was brought up speaking both English and Spanish, and has lived in Spain for 14 years. These days she often has a feeling of dejá vu, mainly as a result of having lived in the USA where an aggressive form of capitalism dictates the lifestyle of most of its population. She sees how trends are repeated here, how quantity is drowning quality and people’s desires in life are changing. Luckily she lived US culture from a Californian perspective and was also privy to an environmental education, an awareness of how to soften our impact on the planet as well as other methods of making life more worthwhile (or at least less empty). She sees La Chispa as an excellent way of spreading such a perspective in Andalucía and is happy to be a part of this process.

Kate Vaughan

Proof reader and reality checker

Having agreed to ‘give it a try’ living in Andalucía with partner Phil Speirs and to set up an alternative magazine together, many years later she is still here and slightly startled to fine herself enjoying it. Nurturing the children and the vegetable patch, Kate still finds time to bring her keen eye to the editorial, making sure ‘t’s are crossed, ‘i’s are dotted and some of the wilder articles are tamed into making sense. As Chispa has continued to grow and the children allow more time, Kate’s role in the magazine has increased, managing the office and admin and as she has got more involved in the local community has been the driving force behind Chispa helping to promote eco-activities organised by local environmental groups, such as tree planting and cleaning up areas of natural beauty.


Mario and Viviana Morán

Design team

Mario and Viviana, our Argentinean design team, bring the articles in Chispa to life. Since they took over the design of the magazine in early 2007 positive comments about the magazine from our readers have multiplied. Their work developing the original Chispa web site into the premiere portal for natural and holistic living has created a fantastic visual vehicle for the content of la Chispa.

Merce Viscarro


Of Catalan stock, Merce worked in the Spanish foreign service in Ireland for over twenty years and then settled in the Sierra de las Nieves in the year 2000 following the sun and her destiny. An integral part of the Plantaromed project with her husband Alonso Navarro. She now works full time in public administration in Málaga but still finds the time to translate Chispa and has done so for many years. Her main interest is her spiritual development with the help of the Universal Gnostic School.

This post is also available in: Spanish

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