Deen Hallissey takes over Disability Arts Online’s instagram


In partnership with London-based performance company Access All Areas, undeterred by lockdown, Disability Arts Online has been working with our Digital Influencer Deen Hallissey on ‘Lead’ – a bespoke leadership development program. He talks to DAO about his recent Instagram Takeover.

series of selfies of young man

One of the shots Deen Hallisey shared during his Instagram Takeover

Things are slowly but surely moving forwards in Disability Arts Online’s work, despite the limitations of working solely online through video chat rooms. Deen did an takeover of Disability Arts Online’s Instagram in the week from Monday 27 April to Sunday 3 May, sharing his digitally-manipulated images and photographs and giving us an insight into his world of alternative culture #rockingthelockdown with images on the theme of #beautyandsurrealism #creativephotography #rockmetalpunklover #vlogger and #actor, amongst others.

“I felt like I was part of something, almost like a step integrating me fully into the DAO team. Not just like a guest or a temporary guy filling in – I felt like I was actually part of it and my name will go down in the records.”

“I enjoyed sharing my vision: performances, artwork, pictures, etc etc. Showing people how I see the world – saying how you see it is your own, and here is how I see it. Did you enjoy? I know I did. Thanks to all who followed it. Whether you liked it or not, thanks for taking a view of it. Rather than hoping everyone enjoys everything they saw, I use a Black Veiled Brides way of thinking – ‘whether you love us or hate us, means everything to us.'”

collage of seven photos of young man and his friends

Deen Hallisey and Cian Binchy with friends

Deen’s takeover was very popular, accruing over 700 likes on Disability Arts Online’s instagram feed and introducing a lot of his music and alternative culture followers to our Instagram feed, which now has 2,461 followers. He received lots of congratulations from his buddies at Access All Areas especially on Facebook. He enjoyed reaching an audience.

“It was impressive; everyone was really taking note of it. I was getting reactions I wasn’t expecting – people shared the hell out of it and reacted to it, even people who usually don’t react to stuff I share. A lot of it took me by surprise, how much I actually make an impact. Even though I’m not trying to make an impact I’m just sharing how I see things, it’s up to you how you feel. I will do something regardless of what people think.”

“My journey with Disability Arts Online is like a drone journey right now… like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2! I’m looking at the world and the job like I’m in a games arcade. We’re in our spaces controlling things like a machine or a video game… because we can’t all be together. You’re not there but you’re virtually there.”

Reflecting on Deen’s Instagram Takeover, his Support Mentor Lowri Jenkins commented:

“We chat every day and have some great conversations. Deen is very inspiring and full of brilliant analogies. We’ve had to be very creative and pretty disciplined to get a new working relationship off the ground in lockdown, so it was so great that the Takeover was a success. To me it shows that more people want to see the world through Deen’s eyes.

I feel very lucky to be part of Deen’s journey with DAO and the wider community. Deen likes to say I am the Robin to his Batman – I couldn’t say it better myself.”

The last word from Deen comes through his Quarantine video diaries compiled over the week of the takeover.

Watch this space for more from Deen Hallissey as he prepares to take up blogging on Disability Arts Online.