Bill Shipsey

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Bill Shipsey is a Barrister, and the founder of Art for Amnesty – Amnesty International's global artist engagement programme.[1]

Bill Shipsey 1.jpeg

Art for Amnesty - Music Projects[edit]

Shipsey joined Amnesty in the late 1970s, inspired in part by the activism of entertainers, who performed at the Monty-Python-esque ‘Secret Policeman's Ball’ benefit show. As founder of Art for Amnesty, Shipsey has brought together a number of world-renowned artists for musical projects that benefit Amnesty:

  1. Shipsey was co-executive producer of ‘Instant Karma,’ Amnesty's multi-star benefit album of John Lennon compositions. The album hit number one on iTunes stores around the world, and was nominated for several Grammies. Shipsey said the idea was “to allow Amnesty to engage with the iPod-listening, music-downloading, 16-to-26 year-olds. [The album] enabled us to reach out and engage young kids in a way we hadn’t for years.”[2]
  2. He devised and produced the Small Places Tour, a 2008 music concert project which partnered with over 800 concerts in some 40 countries worldwide.
  3. From 2009-2011 Shipsey oversaw the participation of Amnesty on U2’s global 360° tour of 110 concerts, which included the announcement of Aung San Suu Kyi as Ambassador of Conscience Award winner in 2009 by Bono from the stage at Croke Park in Dublin.
  4. In October 2010, he met with German entrepreneur Jochen Wilms and their mutual musician friend Carl Carlton in Dublin. The idea for a commemorative song for Amnesty’s 50th Anniversary was born. This led to the groundbreaking Art for Amnesty Band ‘Toast to Freedom’ song with contributions from nearly 50 singers from all over the world. ‘Toast To Freedom’ was launched worldwide on 3 May 2012.[3]
  5. Shipsey produced 'Electric Burma' a concert held on 18 June 2012 in honour of Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi featuring Bono, Damien Rice, Lupe Fiasco, Bob Geldof, Angelique Kidjo and others.
  6. He co- executive produced 'Bringing Human Rights Home' a concert held on 5 February 2014, benefitting Amnesty International in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

7. In May 2015 he produced and directed two concerts in Mexico City for Amnesty entitled 'Desde Aqui' to mark the opening of the Amnesty International regional hub for the Americas in Mexico City.

Art for Amnesty - Awards and More[edit]

Shipsey initiated and has produced Amnesty's Ambassador of Conscience Award, an accolade that has been bestowed on such diverse activists as Nelson Mandela, Václav Havel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Peter Gabriel and U2. The Ambassador of Conscience Award was inspired by Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who was a great Amnesty supporter for over 30 years and dedicated a poem to Amnesty titled "From the Republic of Conscience." On 17 September 2013, Shipsey produced the Ambassador of Conscience Award Ceremony honouring Harry Belafonte and Malala Yousafzai. On 21 May 2015, he produced and directed the Ambassador of Conscience Award Ceremony at the Berliner Festspiele honouring Joan Baez and Ai Wei Wei.

In 2012 and again in 2014, on behalf of Art for Amnesty, Shipsey conceived and commissioned two giant tapestries (funded by artist supporters of Amnesty) that hang at Prague and Dublin Airports in honour of Václav Havel and Seamus Heaney respectively , titled "Flying Man" and “Out of the Marvellous.” The tapestries were designed by New-York-based Czech artist Peter Sis, and crafted by master weavers in Aubusson, France.[4]

By profession Shipsey is a Barrister (Senior Counsel) and has appeared for Amnesty International before the Court of Justice of the European Union. He has consulted widely with other human rights organisations around the world seeking to partner with artists in the promotion of human rights campaigns.

Professional Memberships[edit]

  • Bar of England & Wales 1987[5]
  • Bar of Northern Ireland 1989[6]

Professional Experience[edit]

  • Senior Counsel Irish Bar, January 1994 – Present
  • Junior Counsel Irish Bar, 1980 - 1994

Organisations[edit]

  • Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran - Board member & Chair
  • The Václav Havel Library Foundation[7] - Advisory Board member
  • Art for Amnesty - Founder & Chair, May 2002 to present
  • Irish Hospice Foundation - Board Member & Chair, March 2001 to July 2004
  • Amnesty International - Board Member International Executive Committee, November 1987 to August 1989
  • Amnesty International Irish Section - Board Member & Chair, May 1984 to November 1987
  • Free Legal Advice Centres - Board Member & Chair, October 1978 to May 1980

· Rights Watch (U.K.) - Patron

Education and Personal Life[edit]

Bill Shipsey was born 22 June 1958 in Waterford, Ireland. He studied at Castleknock College. He gained his Bachelor of Civil Law degree at University College Dublin (1976-79), and Barrister at Law degree from King's Inns Dublin (1979–80).

Shipsey lives in Dublin, Ireland.

References[edit]

External links[edit]