Singer PJ Harvey and human rights activist Peter Tatchell are set to be given honours by Goldsmiths college, part of the University of London, to recognise their contributions to society.

Peter Tatchell, who has been campaigning for human rights and social justice for 47 years, helped spearhead the campaign for same-sex marriage, which became law earlier this year; while Polly Harvey, who controversially guest edited BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last year, was also awarded an MBE for services to music in 2013.

Harvey is receiving a doctorate – an academic award given to those who have achieved international renown – and Tatchell a fellowship, something only bestowed on those who have already received every other honour.

Other recipients of awards are journalist and writer Neal Ascherson, satirical political cartoonist Martin Rowson and TS Eliot Prize winning poet and Goldsmiths alumnus George Szirtes.

Liz Bromley, Registrar & Secretary of Goldsmiths, said: ‘Our honorands this year are a remarkable group of people. They have changed communities through their inspiring architectural designs. They have pointed out the ridiculous in the news and made us laugh. They have inspired us with their words, their music, and their art. They have fought for our rights. And they have helped us to understand who we are now by looking to the past.

‘They will now be a part of an institution that prides itself on empowering individuals from all walks of life to become visionaries, just like them.’

The six individuals will receive their awards alongside hundreds of students, who are all graduating at these ceremonies in September.