Art symposiums and similar gatherings in which international artists come together to collaborate are a longstanding tradition of the global art world. In 2019, artists and environmental researchers and experts were invited to work with a local school on environmental issues to create place-specific art and scientific collaborations. Three interdisciplinary teams focused on locally current topics. In this article, we present the process of one of them: the freshwater pearl mussels sub-project. In addition, we discuss the research practice of the International Socially Engaged Art Symposium and the ethics related to the gathering. The research practice included various forms of dialogue, such as presentations, structured group discussions, reflections, mentoring and art-based practice with community members. Tight living together in a humble, small house supported the dialogue. Environmental issues, critical environmentalist thinking and the ethics of the practices were discussed in the process. The ethical elements of the symposium were considered during the processes of defining the themes and aims, curating and producing the event, respecting peer artists and researchers, interacting respectfully with the surrounding community such as school children and community members in countryside villages, and non-human nature, considering the environmental footprint of the symposium and aiming for a meaningful ecological handprint. The documentation, data collection and research reporting also considered ethical issues. The research is part of a cyclic development of art symposiums as socially and environmentally engaged events.