Michelle Thorne (@thornet) is working towards a fossil-free internet. She is the Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the Green Web Foundation and co-founder of the Green Screen Coalition for digital rights and climate justice. She is also a visiting professor at Northumbria University.
She served 12 years at the Mozilla Foundation, most recently as Mozilla’s Sustainable Internet Lead where she helped establish a funder coalition for digital rights and climate justice, and earlier as the founder of the Mozilla Festival. Michelle publishes Branch, an online magazine written by and for people who dream about a sustainable internet, which received the Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanities in 2021. She is also a co-organizer of Open Climate.
At Mozilla, Michelle co-led a PhD program on Open Design of Trust Things (OpenDoTT) with Mozilla and Northumbria University, created the Mozilla Festival, Mozilla’s Open Internet of Things Studio, Ding magazine, and a web literacy program called Maker Party. Prior to that, Michelle managed the Creative Commons international affiliate network from 2007 – 2010. She is a council member of the Billion Seconds Institute, a member of ClimateAction.Tech, a network of tech workers accelerating climate action, and co-founded a sustainable fashion label, Zephyr Berlin.
Email: michelle at thegreenwebfoundation dot org
Projects and Publications
- Intersections of Digital Rights and Climate Justice (2022). A collection of research for grantmaking at the intersection of digital rights and climate justice. Commissioned in collaboration with Mozilla, the Ford Foundation and Ariadne Network.
- Gathering for a Sustainable Internet (2021). A convening for digital rights, climate justice, and open/green technology practitioners.
- Branch: A Sustainable Internet for All (2020-). An online magazine written by and for people who dream of a sustainable and just internet for all. Recipient of the Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity. Exhibited at the V&A. Edited by Michelle Thorne and Chris Adams.
- State of Responsible IoT (2020). Article on “Trustworthy AI and the Climate Crisis” by Michelle Thorne and Fieke Jansen published in ThingsCon’s annual report.
- Museum of the Fossilized Internet (2019). By Gabi Ivens in collaboration with Joana Moll. Commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Cathleen Berger through Mozilla’s Reimagine Open.
- Our Friends Electric: Reflections on Advocacy and Design Research for the Voice Enabled Internet (2019). Rogers, J., Thorne, M., Jain, A., , et al. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, i.E.
- Anatomy of an AI System (2018). By Vladan Joler and Kate Crawford. Acquired to the permanent collection of the V&A and MoMA. Commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers through Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- Our Friends Electric (2017). By Superflux: Jon Ardern (Script), Anab Jain (Direction), Matthew Edgson (Production), Vytautas Jankauskas (Sound), Loraine Clark and Martin Skelly (Prototypes). Commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers through Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- Ding magazine (2017, 2019). A magazine about the Internet and things. Issue 1: Craft edited by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers. Issue 2: Futures edited by Julia Kloiber.
- Superrr Feminist Tech Fellows (2018). By Julia Kloiber at Superrr Lab. Commissioned with Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- Trustable Technology Mark (2018). By Peter Bihr at ThingsCon. Commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers through Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- Residency in Motherhood (2017). A self-directed residency during my parental leave to explore small utopias.
- Digital Design Weekend at the V&A (2017). Curated by Irini Papadimitriou. Contributed to exhibitions and its publication, Bridging Open Borders.
- Professional Knowledge and IoT (2017). By Ame Elliott at Simply Secure. Commissioned by Michelle Thorne and Jon Rogers through Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- View Source Shenzhen (2017). By Peter Bihr, ThingsCon and The Incredible Machine. Research and collaboration through Mozilla’s Open IoT Studio.
- Unbox Caravan Field Notes: The Craft Edition (2017). Curated by Babitha George at Unbox Labs and Jon Rogers at Mozilla Open IoT Studio.
- We all live in the computer now: NetGain paper on society, philanthropy & Internet of Things (2017). By Mark Surman and Michelle Thorne.
- Zephyr Berlin (2016). A sustainable clothing label with Peter Bihr and Cecilia Palmer that makes pants that look great, perform and travel well, and are built to last for years. Successfully funded on Kickstarter.
- Practices for a Healthy Internet of Things (2016). By Jon Rogers, Martin Skelly and Michelle Thorne.
- Connected Communities and Digital Futures (2016). Curated by Unbox Labs Caravan and Mozilla Open IoT Studio.
- The Good Home Project (2016). Curated by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino. Exhibited at Milan Fuori Salone with Peter Bihr and Iohanna Nicenboim.
- Understanding the Connected Home (2015). Book co-authored with Peter Bihr.
- An Open Web (2011). By Adam Hyde, Alejandra Perez, Bassel Safadi, Christopher Adams, Mick Fuzz, Jon Phillips, and Michelle Thorne.
- “Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative” (2009). Thorne, Michelle and Cobcroft, Rachel. Free Culture Research Workshop, Harvard Law School.