Instructors / Teagascóirí
Instructors teaching during the Spring 2020 quarter.
Minnesota for 27 years. For many of those years, Steve was chair of the department. While at Gustavus,
he taught courses in Irish theatre and history, theatre design, stagecraft, and arts management. Steve
has designed for over 150 theatre productions. He lived in Dublin in the early 1990s while doing
research on the Abbey Theatre. Steve has led 10 college study abroad tours to Ireland and visited the
island many more times. He has a BA and MFA in theatre, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy. From
2006 to 2016 Steve served as Senior Vice President and Academic Dean at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.
Brenda is an award-winning teacher and author whose passion is helping others express
themselves through writing.
In her workshops and book Story by Story: 15 Projects to Write Your Family Legacy, she
helps even reluctant writers quickly and easily capture their stories. She teaches at RootsTech, the world's largest genealogy conference, the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, the Madeline Island School of the Arts, and at schools, libraries, and historical societies.
She holds an MS in journalism from Boston University and a PhD from the University of Minnesota's Department of Writing Studies. She is the founder of voicedlife.com.
Jeanine has been an active participant in the Twin Cities art community for over 20 years. She works under the moniker Nest and Tessellate to create magical folk art informed by her Celtic, Scandi and Slavic roots. She attended the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul and holds an MFA in Ecological Architecture from Vesper College. Her practice explores magical symbols, pattern language and seasonal crafts derived from historic folkways. She seeks to connect with ancestral art forms, reimagine traditional folk charms and build relationships within the community around these interests. Symbols charged with intention have been used for millennia as agents of healing and protection on textiles, buildings and household tools. Gathering precedents from around the Midwest and beyond; she hopes to draw parallels between diverse sources, identify shared meanings and with help from collaborators, develop new visual lexicons reflective of current needs. The goal of this work is to create a magical folk art for our time.
Dr. Patrick O'Donnell
Dr. Patrick O’Donnell, editor/contributing writer, is a full-time English faculty member at Normandale Community College. The founder/director of the Saint Paul Irish Arts Week (since 2016), a comprehensive ten-day program in April/May funded by the Irish Fair of Minnesota, he is primarily Director of Education at Celtic Junction Arts Center where he coordinates classes and also teaches American, British, and Irish Gothic tales, Irish-American short stories, Irish literature, literary history, and mythology. He co-edited the eighteen-author anthology, The Harp and the Loon: Literary Bridges between Ireland and Minnesota. Most recently, he is the Phoenix Theatre’s founder/director.
Instructors not offering classes at this time.
Brianna is the founder of Seek United, an organization dedicated to helping people thrive. Through her Live Better wellness workshop series, online courses, and forthcoming book, she’s dedicated to teaching people how to increase stress resiliency and live a happier, healthier lives. A self-proclaimed research enthusiast, Brianna takes complex insights from health, psychology, financial and organizational experts and turns them into practical, actionable steps. A passionate speaker, panelist, and workshop host, Brianna has a Graduate Diploma in International Development from University College Dublin. She’s a certified master recycler and composter, yoga instructor, and meditation coach. In her free time, she loves spending as much time as possible in the great outdoors and sharing tasty, homemade meals with friends and family. Learn more at www.seekunited.org
Dr. John Davenport founded (in 1977), and cataloged a significant portion of, the materials constituting the Department of Special Collections in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library at the University of St. Thomas. He served as Head of Special Collections 1977-2000 (and Acting Director of Libraries at St. Thomas, 1989-1991). The DSC houses the "Celtic Collection," of roughly 14,000 volumes, assembled from donations made since 1917 by (among others) the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Minnesota, the family of antiquarian Peter O'Connor (a prominent San Francisco businessman), and St. Thomas President Fr. James P. Shannon, who arranged for the acquisition of the scholarly library of Eamonn O'Toole, professor of Irish at Trinity College, Dublin, when the latter died in 1956. The Department also features the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Collection of Irish Poetry which includes much of the output of the Dolmen Press, the Cuala Press, and the Raven Arts Press; and a collection of early-twentieth century nationalist poetry. Davenport taught courses in modern Irish and British history at St. Thomas and North Central University (Minneapolis), until his retirement in 2017.
Carrie Finnigan uses a playful approach in painting, printmaking and drawing of abstracted representations of human figures and nature. Growing up in close proximity to forests and water, she developed an affinity with the outdoors and was fascinated by the human - natural environment conflict. This youthful interest was formally developed in a B.A. in Fine Art and a B.S. in Art Education. She delved into artistic practice, honing her preference for using color and line to express emotion. In each of her works a portion is purposefully left undone to “let the light in.” This engages the imagination of the viewer, providing an opportunity for pause, realization, and a reflection of self.
Once a practicing attorney, Natalie is now an author, freelance editor, a paranormal investigator and…a psychic medium. Natalie is a staff editor and a regular contributor to FATE Magazine, the longest-running print paranormal magazine featuring stories of the strange and unknown. Her literary works are represented by Red Sofa Literary. Natalie is a member of Ghost Stories Ink, a paranormal investigative group that teaches classes and workshops about how to find inspiration from notoriously haunted surroundings. The group has investigated properties from New York to Los Angeles and several places in-between. Natalie, a self-proclaimed research geek, serves as the group’s historian.
Jacqueline Hesse has an M.F.A. from Hamline University in children's and young adult literature. Her articles on craft have appeared in The Writermagazine, The Society For Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCWBI) Bulletin, The Storyteller's Inkpot and others. She has led masters’ level writing workshops at Hamline and writes ghost stories for Lerner/ Darby Creek. Her middle grade and young adult novels are represented by Pippin in NY. She worked as a reading, writing, and literature tutor for Minneapolis public schools and taught English as an adjunct professor at Normandale Community College. This class is the fifth class she will have taught at the Celtic Junction.
Tom is a native of Dublin, where he attended preschool, primary school and secondary school all through Irish Gaelic. Tom holds a bachelor's degree in history and Irish Gaelic from University College Dublin and a Higher Diploma in Translation and Editing from Maynooth University. He came to Minnesota in 2008 as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of St. Thomas. Since then, he has moved between Ireland and Minnesota, teaching, translating and editing. He currently works as an in-house editor for a digital media company in Minneapolis.
Patsy is an award-winning NPR-Featured songwriter. He supplied the driving guitar rhythms on Celtic/World Music diva Eileen Ivers' last European tour and frequently collaborates with many giants of the Celtic/World music scene - Paddy Keenan. Cathie Ryan among them. Patsy's songwriting reflects a strong interest in Roots Americana as well as Jazz influences. Paysy has critically-acclaimed solo albums under his belt and also hosts guitar workshops all over the country.
Thomas Dillon Redshaw
Thomas Dillon Redshaw retired from the St. Thomas faculty in 2012. Redshaw received his MA in Anglo-Irish literature from University College, Dublin, and a doctorate in English from New York University. Redshaw is a fellow of the Institute of Irish Studies at Queen’s University, Belfast. Before becoming the first editor of New Hibernia Review, Redshaw had a long association with the journal Éire-Ireland . Redshaw’s research and publications have focused on mid-century and contemporary Irish poetry, especially John Montague. He is currently writing a book on the history of the Liam Miller’s Dolmen Press, an Irish fine press founded in 1951.
Dr. Reini-Grandell received her PhD in English literature from the University of Minnesota and is the author of Approaching the Gate, winner of the 2015 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and the forthcoming Wild Verge. She researches world mythology and oral poetry traditions and has studied folksong at the Sommelo Ethno Music Festival in Kuhmo, Finland. An alum of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and the Sewanee Writers Conference, she has received grants for her work from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Finlandia Foundation. She is a professor of English at Normandale Community College.
David and Suzanne Rhees
Bundle & Go is the duo of David and Suzanne Rhees, whose mission is to explore the roots and branches of Celtic traditional music. They play an eclectic mix of Irish dance tunes, slow listening pieces, and unusual songs, with a generous sprinkling of tunes from related traditions -- Cape Breton, Welsh, Scottish, French-Canadian, Métis, Appalachian and more. Their instruments are equally diverse: Suzanne plays Irish flute, whistles and button accordion, while Dave plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, ukulele and feet. Suzanne has played with accordion master Paddy O'Brien's group, O'Rourke's Feast, and Dave is a veteran of the band Roisin Dubh. They both were members of Contradictions, a contradance band, the Québécois band La Traversée. They are the founders of the longest-running session in the Twin Cities, at Keegan's Irish Pub.
Fred is a lifelong scholar and mystical thinker. He has been a choir singer for 25 years and a performer for 13. He yearns to learn of Druids, banshees, and ancient Celtic migrations. His grandmother, Rose, gave him a love of the thin places...
Julia Van Etten
Julia has been teaching marketing for more than a decade, most recently, at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. She is a skilled and versatile educator with more than 20 years of expertise in marketing, brand strategy, and customer insights.
Prior to teaching at the University of Minnesota, she was a marketing and brand consultant for agencies, large and mid-sized companies, and not-for-profit organizations, including: 3M, General Mills, Wells Fargo, Greater Twin Cities United Way, Lund Food Holdings, Normandale Community College, and William Mitchell College of Law.
Her first visit to Ireland in 2017 sparked the development of a new marketing course at the U of M called Brands and Storytelling in Ireland, which she led last Spring.
Kathryn Wehr has a PhD in Divinity from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where she studied at the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Katy has a particular interest in the early and medieval Christian history of the British Isles and has enjoyed pilgrimages to Iona and Lindisfarne, monastic communities founded by Celtic missionary monks. She is a 2019 recipient of a Clyde S. Kilby Research Grant from the Marion E. Wade Center for her ongoing academic research on the religious drama of Dorothy L. Sayers. Katy is also a Catholic folk musician and regularly does
concert/talks for church and community groups based on her recent album about women in the Gospels – And All the Marys, which can be found on katywehrmusic.com, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.