History of ITP

a younger Red Burns sitting on a couch with a mug writing on a notepad

our founder, Red Burns

In 1970 Red Burns saw a demonstration of the Sony portapak. A filmmaker by training, she realized that the new accessibility of videotape was going to radically change who could tell their story in her medium of motion pictures. An activist by temperament, Red intuited that this new tool should get into the hands of the people.

The transforming technologies of the day have changed from videotape to disc storage to personal computers to the web and physical computing but the mission has stayed the same - getting students to ask how can those technologies could enrich the lives of ordinary people. How can they improve society? Not just making life easier, safer and more efficient but more just, more beautiful, more meaningful and more fun. We have put the new technical possibilities into creative hands of thousands of alumni from every possible background and watched what emerges. By way of that process we have have helped shaped some of the most important changes of our times.

Of course these platforms are now commonplace, combined into something small and affordable that fits in your pocket. But first they spent years as crazy ideas being played with and developed at places like ITP. We fully expect that some of the crazy ideas bouncing around ITP now will one day look perfectly normal and find their way into everyday life. The best is yet to come.

Red Burns Scholarship Fund

There is no better way to honor Red Burns’ life and work than to help us keep ITP alive and well by donating to the Red Burns Scholarship Fund. We are seeking to raise $5 million dollars, which will serve as a solid base to build the future of ITP. We are well on our way to our goal, thanks to the alumni contributions at the 30th and 40th anniversary celebrations. Your contributions to the Red Burns Scholarship Fund will keep ITP within the reach of the best and the brightest students, from all over the world, from diverse backgrounds and who will continue to discover and make an as yet unimagined future.