SCOTLAND'S leading rapper has criticised the country's arts funding body for failing to engage with the working class and people living in deprived areas.

Darren McGarvey, the writer, hip hop artist and rapper, better known by his stage name of Loki, has complained that Creative Scotland - the main funder of the nation's arts companies and artists - fails to help people from working class or deprived communities access its funds.

Mr McGarvey, from Pollok in Glasgow, said that in the world of hip hop, "you'll find people of all colours, genders and social backgrounds....we speak directly to the very deprived communities Creative Scotland [CS] can't get a foothold in, yet our art form remains misunderstood and undervalued.

"I think a lot of what CS does is really valuable, but it's time for us to really start challenging them, particularly on the issue of class."

Mr McGarvey is to explore this topic, among others, at an event at the Edinburgh College of Art this Sunday, entitled 'Not Funded by Creative Scotland: A Guide to Surviving The Post Referendum Hell-Scape.'

Speaking ahead of the event, he said that neither he or anybody in the hip hop scene, ever applies to Creative Scotland for funds as they feel it is a waste of time.

"I've engaged thousands of people from a diverse range of social backgrounds, but I've never, at any point, felt like I should - or could - apply to CS.

"Many others feel the same and part of it's about class," he said.

He added that Creative Scotland is a big organisation with a broad remit, and "I don't doubt, for one second, the talent or good intentions of the people who work there" but added: "but it's also a bit of a gravy train for those artists who have insight into how the process works.

"If you study the open funding applications you see a lot of recurring names and themes."

Creative Scotland funds music largely through its Open Funding scheme which is open to bands and solo musical artists. The fund is also facing pressure on its finances in the forthcoming budget.

Mr McGarvey has been outspoken in the past about the way the cultural world engages with working class or deprived communities.

He is shortly to publish, on Luath Press, his book Poverty Safari, which JK Rowling has praised as a "savage, wise and witty tour-de-force".

Irvine Welsh has praised the book, a social commentary as well as autobiography, as "an intellectual and spiritual rehab manual for the progressive left".

Mr McGarvey's event has been organised by The State Leith, a grass roots hip hop education organisation based in Leith, Edinburgh.

On Creative Scotland's class issue, he added: "People from further down the food-chain are often not part of the networks where information about funding is shared.

"So they always need chaperoned by someone who does.

"And the chaperones are usually from more affluent backgrounds.

"They want to parachute arts into communities but often lack insight into the needs, aspirations, language and customs of those places.

"It creates a dynamic where people feel spoken down to or exploited."

He added that "people from poorer backgrounds don't always do ourselves favours".

He said: "We can procrastinate from filling out forms because of anxiety or low-self-esteem. We can be unwilling to push ourselves beyond a comfort zone.

"But the creative industries seems willing to bend over backwards and contort itself to accommodate every demographic out there - except those from lower class backgrounds.

"This is because the ravine between the classes is now so wide that it's become very difficult to interact without offending each other or getting bogged down in power dynamics."

A spokeswoman for Creative Scotland said: "We’re keenly aware that barriers to access and progression exist, recently evidenced in our arts and diversity survey.

"We’re using these findings to inform our work to address the barriers that obstruct people from accessing and engaging with culture and creativity or developing and progressing their careers.

"As a culture sector, we can address the lack of diversity, support career progression and challenge poor employment practices."

Mr McGarvey added: "My talk is not about pointing fingers, it's about self-knowledge and cultural diplomacy.

"A lot of people out there think the theatre they watch makes them cultured, but they wouldn't know what to do in a room full of working class young people.

"What is being 'cultured' even worth when you can only mix with people from the same social background as you? My work deals with crossing those barriers.

"Sadly, there's no way to approach this without upsetting some people."