Photo by Raj Shafique on Unsplash

Expo 2020, the globally important event hosted in Dubai, was postponed last year due to Covid, and it finally opened its doors in Dubai this Autumn, showcasing world-changing innovations from around the world.

The organisers have made accessibility and inclusivity a priority with the aim of making the event the most accessible Expo ever, offering infrastructure, services and an online platform focussed on enabling participation by as many people as possible, both in-person and remotely.

People with differing accessibility needs were considered from the beginning of the event planning process. ‘People of determination’ was used as an umbrella term to account for the variety of different people with differing needs, including individuals with invisible disabilities, like those with sensory processing difficulties, or those who are hard of hearing or deaf.

Dina Storey, Director of Sustainability Operations at Expo 2020 Dubai has shared their approach to making the event accessible:

“Inclusion is one of the UAE’s most important values, and it was crucial to ensure that the team behind Expo 2020 was diverse, accepting and dedicated to the task of delivering an exceptional event to the world. People of determination played an important role in the lead-up and delivery of the global event.”

“As a result, [the] Expo has built a thorough understanding of the journey of a person of determination by regularly engaging with the community and relevant stakeholders. This involved a series of accessibility forums that led Expo to introduce a number of provisions for people of determination”

Physical accessibility provisions on-site include relief areas for service dogs, step-free access to every pavilion within the Expo, Hearing Induction Loops or Hearing Enhancement Systems to ensure that individuals who use hearing aids are able to enjoy audio within pavilions, Braille and tactile map boards, ear defenders and sunglasses, quiet rooms in visitor centres and sensory rating cards for every pavilion that display the sensory impact of the pavilion based on the six senses for neurodivergent individuals or those with sensory processing difficulties. Free tickets are also available for ‘people of determination’.

Aveso were involved with the event at the planning stage and were pleased to introduce the organisers of Expo 2020 to our partners Astor Bannerman with the aim of supporting them to provide accessible bathrooms at various locations for visitors.

A special thanks to the organisers, and Dr Jennifer Camulli, for their foresight and vision concerning Changing Places from the start.

As a result Astor Bannerman helped design, supplied equipment and supervised installation for not one but four separate Changing Places Toilets across the Dubai site.

Nick Kent, Co-Founder of Aveso added:

“You don’t get much bigger than this in terms of the world stage for Changing Places toilets. We are exceptionally proud to have worked with the organisers, influencers and Astor Bannerman to ensure these rooms were planned and executed to the best international standards. I would like to thank Dr Camulli and the organisers for all their belief in Changing Places”.


The team at Aveso are passionate about Changing Places toilets. They have supported and sponsored the official Changing Places campaign since 2013, and  provide free, expert advice on all aspects of the Changing Places planning and design process.


Astor Bannerman manufacture the full range of products specified by Changing Places regulations, including fixed and mobile changing tables, hoists, height adjustable washbasins, toilets and accessories. Astor Bannerman are industry leading in developing new products, and are proud to have developed the Astor Invincible, the first changing table designed specifically for Changing Places toilets.