Michelle Thorne (Creative Commons)

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Michelle Thorne
Michelle thorne.jpg
Michelle Thorne 2007, by Joi Ito
Born (1985-01-15) January 15, 1985 (age 37)
United States
Alma materMount Holyoke College
University of Leipzig
OccupationMozilla Foundation
Known forMozilla
Michelle Thorne speaks about Mozilla culture and openness at Maker Party 2013 in Bangalore

Michelle Thorne (born 1985) is an American-born, Berlin, Germany-based internet culture and climate justice activist who is known for leading community initiatives at Mozilla and before then with Creative Commons. Her work focusses on knowledge sharing and on the social and planetary implications of new technologies.

She is a Senior Program Officer on the Mozilla Foundation's Fellowships and Awards team [1] and the editor of an award-winning[2] online magazine, Branch.

Early life and education[edit]

Thorne grew up in Heidelberg, Germany. She holds a BA summa cum laude in Critical Social Thought and German Studies from Mount Holyoke College, USA, where she wrote an honors thesis on authorship, originality, and American copyright law.


She worked as the international project manager for Creative Commons from 2007 to 2011[3] and joined the Mozilla Foundation as Global Event Strategist in 2011.[4] She organized the Drumbeat Festival and the first several editions of the Mozilla Festival, which grew to be the largest annual gathering of the Mozilla community.[5]

She is co-author of the book Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow's connected home in 2016[6] (2nd edition) and was a co-founder of Mozilla's Open IoT Studio the same year, which later evolved into a PhD program on internet health with the University of Northumbria called OpenDoTT in 2018.[7] At Mozilla, she co-founded the magazine Ding in 2017[8] with Jon Rogers.

In 2020, she founded the online magazine Branch to convene people and ideas on how to make the internet itself more sustainable for the planet.[9] She is also a Senior Program Officer on Mozilla's Fellowships and Awards team.[10]

She was a founding member of the Awesome Foundation Berlin, which is no longer active.[11]

Honors and awards[edit]





Thorne regularly organizes events and gives talks about the commons, open design, and collaborative consumption.[18][19][20][21][22]

Her design challenges for sharable objects were cited by Bruce Sterling[23] and she was interviewed in the film The Future of Art.[24]


  1. ^ "Fellowships and Awards Team". Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  2. ^ "Ars Electronica Digital Humanity Award 2021". Ars Electronica. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  3. ^ "Creative Commons People". Creative Commons. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  4. ^ "Michelle Thorne joins Mozilla". Mark Surman. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  5. ^ Thorne, Michelle; Surman, Mark; Gunn, Allen (2020). MozFest Book. Mozilla. pp. 5–9. ISBN 978-1-7363320-1-6. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  6. ^ Thorne, Michelle. "Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow's connected home". Michelle Thorne. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  7. ^ Taylor, Niche. "University of Dundee and Mozilla announce doctoral programme for 'Healthier IoT'". OpenDoTT. University of Northumbria. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  8. ^ "About Ding". DingDingDing. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  9. ^ Thorne, Michelle (2020). "About Branch". Branch. No. 1. Branch. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  10. ^ "Fellowships and Awards Team". Mozilla Foundation. Mozilla Foundation. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  11. ^ "The Awesome Foundation Berlin Trustees". Jesse Chan-Norris. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  12. ^ "Ars Electronica Digital Humanity Award 2021". Ars Electronica. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  13. ^ Thorne, Michelle; Rogers, Jon; Larsen, Solana; Skelly, Martin; Taylor, Nick; Wallace, Jayne; Thomas, Pete; Raj, Romit; Clarke, Loraine; George, Babitha; Shorter, Mike (2021). "Prototyping Things: Reflecting on Unreported Objects of Design Research for IoT" (PDF). Northumbria University.
  14. ^ "Our friends electric: Reflections on advocacy and design research for the voice enabled internet". Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (114): 1–13. May 2019. doi:10.1145/3290605.3300344. S2CID 140224517. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  15. ^ Thorne, Michelle (2014-08-01). "How You Run a Meeting Says a Lot About Your Values: Participatory Practices for Open Communities". OpenSym '14: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Open Collaboration. doi:10.1145/2641580.2641582. S2CID 20202715. Retrieved 2021-08-12.
  16. ^ "Transmediale Open Web Booksprint". ARTE Creative. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  17. ^ "Capturing the Commons: (Ways Forward for) The CC Case Studies Initiative" (PDF). Thorne, Michelle and Cobcroft, Rachel. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  18. ^ "Designing for Collaborative Consumption". republica2010. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  19. ^ "TEDxKreuzberg". TED. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  20. ^ "Scratch Conference Amsterdam 2015". Scratch. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  21. ^ "To Culture With Love 2011". To Culture With Love. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  22. ^ "UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2015 Equitable Access". UNESCO. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  23. ^ Sterling, Bruce (2010-12-13). "Designing for Collaborative Consumption". WIRED. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  24. ^ "Gabriel Shalom, retour vers les futurs". Vogue Paris. Archived from the original on 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2011-11-10.

External links[edit]