In 2004 with the rise of global tensions, Vanessa Branson envisioned a cultural festival that would address social issues through the arts, using them as a vehicle for debate and discussion and to build bridges between diverse ideologies. The Marrakech Biennale would become a celebration of creativity in a city that has been the focus of artistic exploration for centuries but with limited emphasis on contemporary art. Beginning in 2005 as a gathering of arts enthusiasts who organised literary events and exhibitions, the Biennale has grown to become an internationally recognised event with a thriving visual art and literature programme. Pevious participants include artists from a wide spectrum of disciplines, such as Esther Freud, Patricia Esquivias, Josef Kosuth, Hanif Kureishi, Anri Sala, Julian Schnabel and Zadie Smith.
Marrakech Biennale is a young non-for-profit organization, with an efficient Management Team including President and Founder Vanessa Branson, Vice President Amine Kabbaj, General Director Stefan Holwe, Artistic Director Alya Sebti, and Operational Director Alia Radman, The team work closely together with the Biennale Advisory Board and the Artistic Steering Committee, and leading up to each event, the team grows through freelance professionals and volunteers.