Michelle Thorne (@thornet) is interested in climate justice and a fossil-free internet. As a Senior Program Officer at the Mozilla Foundation, Michelle leads a PhD program on Open Design of Trust Things (OpenDoTT) with Northumbria University and several art and research initiatives as an Environmental Champion in Mozilla’s Sustainability Program. She founded Ding magazine, Mozilla’s Open Internet of Things Studio, the Mozilla Festival and a web literacy program called Maker Party.
Michelle is a jury member of the Protoype Fund, which supports open source projects in civic tech, data literacy, data security and software infrastructure, and she is a Thinker in Residence at Climate KIC. She also co-founded a sustainable fashion label, Zephyr Berlin.
Commissions and Collaborations
- A Sustainable Internet for All magazine (forthcoming in 2020). Edited by Chris Adams, Michelle Thorne, Rocio Armillas-Tiseyra and Ilona Puskás with support from Climate Action Tech, EIT Climate KIC and Mozilla.
- 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.
- 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 Superflix: 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I founded Mozilla’s Open Internet of Things Studio, a professional learning network committed to making IoT more open. We collaborate on prototypes that serve local communities and celebrate the unique affordances of physical places. We test and critique best practices for embedding privacy, digital literacy and diversity & inclusion in IoT. We publish and exhibit our results as a way to reflect and advocate for these values as the internet evolves into more physical and ubiquitous forms.
For six years, I curated Mozilla’s largest public-facing event, the Mozilla Festival (#Mozfest).
I was Mozilla’s Director of Web Literacy Programs, where I developed Mozilla Clubs, a global network of local groups who meet regularly in-person to learn how to read, write and participate with the web in an inclusive, engaging way. I also initiated a web literacy campaign called Maker Party, supporting thousands of learning events worldwide. I am a proud recipient of a prestigious award.
Prior to that, I worked for Creative Commons, coordinating their international affiliate network and expanding the license suite into more jurisdictions. I’m a co-founder of the Awesome Foundation Berlin, co-author of Open Design Now and An Open Web, and co-organizer of the DMY Maker Lab and the Free Culture Research Conference.
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.
I do have a Googlegänger online…