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Short bio

Michelle Thorne (@thornet) is a Senior Program Officer at the Mozilla Foundation and leads the Open Design of Trust Things (OpenDoTT) PhD program with Mozilla and the University of Dundee. She founded Mozilla’s Open Internet of Things Studio, the Mozilla Festival and Maker Party. She is currently interested in making the internet carbon-neutral.

Long bio

Michelle Thorne (@thornet) is a Senior Program Officer at the Mozilla Foundation and leads the Open Design of Trust Things (OpenDoTT) PhD program with Mozilla and the University of Dundee.

She regularly facilitates programs that advance innovation through open, collaborative practices and advocate for equality through digital empowerment and peer learning.

Together with Peter Bihr, she co-authored the book Understanding the Connected Home, and exhibited in The Good Home Project. She co-founded Zephyr Berlin, a clothing label making pants that look great, perform and travel well, and are built to last for years. She is a proud recipient of a prestigious award.

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

PGP Key.


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.

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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  1. Natasha · December 8, 2011

    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
    mobile: 0176 31186565