Spotlight on Ryoya Mizuno, a 2021 Fellow. He is doing research on the International Thought of Arnold J. Toynbee: The Rise of Anti-colonial Nationalism and the Decline of the British Empire at the London School of Economics, UK

How did you hear about the Canon Foundation in Europe?

I heard about the programme from my friends.

What were you doing before you applied for a Canon Foundation Fellowship?

I received a Master's degree from Keio University, Japan. After graduation, I worked at the Tokyo Individualized Education Institute, Japan where I mainly taught Modern Japanese and European History.

How did you become interested in doing research on a British historian of all people?

When I was a Master's student at Keio University, I studied international history and the history of political thought. Given the background, I became fascinated with the history of the early 20-century British international thought and then decided to research Toynbee’s international thought.

What’s it like doing research at LSE?

The international department at LSE has provided me with a significant and convenient research environment. It holds weekly seminars and events on international or global history, deepening my knowledge of new research trends. Moreover, PhD students organise meetings to discuss the methodologies in historical studies. The meetings are also beneficial to improving my work.

Tell us a bit about your host professor at LSE

Dr Dina Gusejnova is a prominent scholar in 20th-century European history and intellectual history. She is very generous and always cares about the progress of my work. I regularly have face-to-face meetings with her to improve my research explorations. Her comments and advice always sharpen my investigations, helping me become more adept and knowledgeable of intellectual history. Studying under her support has been remarkably beneficial.

Living in London must be quite an experience. What do you do in your spare time?

London is an amusing and comfortable place to live. I have been to the National Museum and the National Gallery in London and enjoyed many marvellous artworks. I can also see magnificent scenery while walking around the River Thames. I often walk around the river in the morning to relax and come up with fresh ideas for my research. Moreover, London is also a significant place for my scholarly activities. For instance, I attend various seminars at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London, which run many events on historical studies almost every week. By attending some lectures run by the institution, I can deepen my understanding of certain areas of historical study and do networking with other scholars.

What are your plans after your Fellowship period ends?

I hope to pursue a career in academia and engage in teaching activities in universities.

Contact with (alumni) Fellows

Where possible, personal visits are made to Fellows while they are at their host institution, either in Europe or Japan. It is the Foundation's policy to keep close contact with the Fellows.

During or shortly after the Fellowship period, the European and Japanese scholars are invited to a Regional Fellow Meeting in Japan or Europe, depending on their location.

In Europe, the Regional Fellow Meeting usually coincides with the meetings of the Board, the Executive and Selection Committees. The members look forward to meeting and chatting with the Fellows and hearing about their experiences in an informal setting.

During these meetings, the Fellows have the opportunity to meet each other and exchange their personal and scientific experiences. The Foundation also benefits by receiving useful feedback by hearing about the Fellows' accounts about the international research climate, the spin-off of the research stay in terms of the improvement of international understanding, the contacts that have been established as a result of the overseas stay between institutions and/or departments and practical matters. From a survey conducted amongst Alumni Fellows 70% still maintain contact with the host institution.

Fellows publications

The Foundation has a modest library with publications of Canon Foundation Fellows who made an acknowledgement to the Foundation in that publication.

Since the Fellowships are not restricted to any discipline, the publications cover a wide area of research - from Molecular Biology and Garden architecture to tribal hunting scenes in Assyria.