The Spanish Armada is an in-depth multimedia project carried out by MA journalism student Yessi Bello Perez, exploring the issues affecting London’s established Spanish community and the new wave of Spanish immigration.
The name, Spanish Armada, is designed to be a fun take on a very serious subject. The Spanish Armada may have suffered a widely reported defeat against the English navy back in 1588, but it seems that Spaniards are still choosing to set down roots in Anglo-Saxon soil. Hardship at home, and a rate of 51% unemployment among Spain’s under 25s, has meant that Spaniards are now the fastest growing group of foreign workers in the UK. And London is quickly becoming the melting pot of Spanish culture and tradition.
This project sets out to give a 360 degree view of what is happening, seeking to find out why and how. It aims to tell stories that are often ignored by mainstream media, giving voice to those who are directly affected by issues.
Born in the capital in 1988, Yessi left for Spain when she was just a baby and returned to London in 1997 when she was 9 years old. As a second generation Spanish immigrant, Yessi’s initial struggles mirrored those of most Spaniards who have left Spain in recent years. She spoke no English, had never eaten a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich (a very strange, albeit delicious combination) and London was completely alien to her. As the years passed, Yessi became accustomed to English life (except the early dinners and tea-drinking) but never lost sight of her beloved Spain.
Yessi attended Royal Holloway (University of London) and studied Modern History, ensuring that she chose modules about Spain’s forgotten history. During this time she learnt about the Spanish Civil War, Francoism, the bloodless transition to democracy and the vivid suffering of a nation.