Hi, hallo, hola, مرحبا!

I’m Michelle Thorne. Currently I work as Mozilla’s Global Strategist on the Webmaker Mentor team. I’m based in Berlin.

The Webmaker Mentors are a community of geeks, educators, makers and passionate people who want to help others learn not just to consume the web, but to make it. Through mentoring, live events and connectivist learning, we’re helping people level up their web literacies. We embrace the spirit of “less yak, more hack” and believe that making drives learning and deeper participation.

I organize Mozilla’s largest public-facing event, the Mozilla Festival, which takes place in London. I also oversee a global campaign called Maker Party to celebrate what you can make with the web and to teach people web skills anywhere—from libraries and schools to hackerspaces and kitchen tables.

We’re experimenting with building a learning network, Hive Berlin, based on the principles of connected learning. In an attempt to be a more avid blogger, and to hang out with good friends, I co-founded Iron Blogger Berlin, in which you either blog once a week or pay into a shared beer pool.

I care about facilitation, communities of practices, mentoring, participation, localization, Free Culture and openness.

For several years I was the International Project Manager at Creative Commons, coordinating teams in over seventy countries (jurisdictions) worldwide to localize Creative Commons tools and to promote legal sharing and Free Culture. I co-organized the Free Culture Research Conference, an event dedicated to exploring the commons and hybrid economies.

As a believer in making and doing things, I also helped “chaordinate” the DMY Maker Lab and other maker projects in Berlin and around the world. I’m a founding trustee of the Awesome Foundation Berlin, a lightweight association to fund small projects. I’m trying to learn Arabic and Spanish, but failing.

I hold a B.A. in Critical Social Thought and German Studies from Mount Holyoke College, where I completed an honors thesis on authorship, originality, and American copyright law. I’ve also studied at the University of Leipzig and grew up in Heidelberg, Germany.


  • @thornet on Twitter
  • i [dot] am [dot] thornet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Leave a comment!

Writings and Talks

“Making Events”, in the first issue of The Alpine Review, 2012.

“Designing for Collaborative Consumption” in a collection curated by the Share Foundation, 2012.

Discussing Mozilla Webmaker and FirefoxOS in Beirut. Interview with Wamda, 2012.

On Campus Party Berlin with DCTP., 2012.

“Co-working” in Open Design Now, 2011.

Presentations on SlideShare.

An Open Web. Commissioned by transmediale. Berlin: 2011. Contributors: Adam Hyde, Alejandra Perez, Bassel Safadi, Christopher Adams, Mick Fuzz, Jon Phillips, and Michelle Thorne. (Editable version) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle and Cobcroft, Rachel. “Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative”. Free Culture Research Workshop, Harvard Law School, 23 October, 2009. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

“Strengthen the Commons – Now!”. Manifesto from the Interdisciplinary Political Salons of the Heinrich Böll Foundation‘s Time for Commons. Berlin: 2008-2009. Translation: Michelle Thorne, Silke Helfrich, David Bollier. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Germany License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle. Copywritings: Technology, Authorship, and Originality in American Copyright Law. Honors B.A. thesis, Mount Holyoke College, 2007. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.

Thorne, Michelle. Copywritings: A Eulogy for Authorship. Mount Holyoke College Senior Symposium 2007, South Hadley: Mount Holyoke College. April 2007. (PDF) / Creative Commons Attribution Unported License Version 3.0.


If you were expecting to find the homepage of my Googlegänger, the more infamous Michelle Thorne, you’d be mistaken here. Alas, I am not a woman of her…um, ahem…caliber. But I am trying to beat her Google rankings.

One Comment on "About"

  1. Natasha says:

    Hi Michelle,

    A friend of mine put me in touch with Mozilla Corp. Berlin which led me to you and your most impressive accomplishments. I find your collaborative vision very inspiring!

    Having recently moved to Berlin from London and looking for job opportunities in the project management and/or design space, I came across Betahaus. Although not yet a member I am familiar with it. Would it be possible to meet up for a coffee there at a time convenient for you to chat further about Mozilla and the possibility of work opportunities and getting involved?

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Kind Regards Natasha mobile: 0176 31186565

Got something to say? Go for it!