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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.

Find Michelle throughout the web as @thornet: Twitter, Github, Flickr.

PGP Key.

Commissions and Collaborations


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…

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