Nine dos and don’ts of video content in the arts

‘Humour is the best way’, ‘be clear about your niche’, 'don’t try to be down with the kids’, plus more words of wisdom on making video.
Mary McGillivray and Nik Wyness share their insights on video content success. Photo: Supplied. McGillivray is a young Caucasian woman with short red hair, wearing a black sleeveless top and sitting inside a study space with yellow walls. Wyness is a middle-aged Caucasian man wearing a high-collared coat and glasses.

Lovers of art-related video content may have come across Australian-grown art historian and TikTok star, Mary McGillivray. Over the past four years, she has accumulated over 12 million “likes” and nearly 448,000 followers on her TikTok account, @_theiconoclass, and collaborated with the ABC, National Gallery London, the Art History Institute of Australia and more.

Looking at McGillivray’s video content now – ranging from controversial photoshopped images to the best view in Florence – the ability to blend a down to earth sense of humour with well-researched art historical knowledge seems to come naturally to her. McGillivray set out with the mission of ‘making visual cultural analysis accessible for the next generation’, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have tuned are surely a mark of achievement.

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Celina Lei is an arts writer and editor at ArtsHub. She acquired her M.A in Art, Law and Business in New York with a B.A. in Art History and Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has previously worked across global art hubs in Beijing, Hong Kong and New York in both the commercial art sector and art criticism. She took part in drafting NAVA’s revised Code of Practice - Art Fairs and was the project manager of ArtsHub’s diverse writers initiative, Amplify Collective. Celina is based in Naarm/Melbourne. Instagram @lleizy_