Iconic singer Nick Cave will add a touch of cool to a university’s winter graduation ceremony when he picks up an honorary degree.

The Australian musician and writer has been named as an honorary doctor of letters by the University of Brighton.

The counter-culture icon will receive the award on Thursday in recognition of services to the arts and his patronage of CineCity, the annual Brighton Film Festival.

Anne Boddington, dean of the faculty of arts, said: “We are fortunate that Nick Cave is not only resident in the city but has chosen to contribute to its creative life as a performer, musician and singer, as a writer and as a patron of CineCity.”

The 54-year-old was born in Australia but now lives in Hove. He is best known for his releases as Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, as well as collaborations with Kylie Minogue and PJ Harvey. He has also written two novels, including The Death of Bunny Munro, which is set in and around Brighton.

Cave will collect the award at next week’s winter graduations at the Brighton Dome.

He is one of three big names receiving a Doctor of Letters on Thursday and Friday.

Outstanding Former children’s poet laureate Michael Rosen has also been honoured for his contribution to poetry and teaching.

Helen Boaden, director of BBC News, will also receive the award. She studied at the University of Sussex and worked on its campus radio, from which she has an honorary doctorate.

The university will also give out its first Alumnus of the Year award.

Social media guru and disability rights campaigner Julie Howell, from the class of 1992, is the first winner.

The award was started by the Brighton Graduate Association to recognise “outstanding” work by former students.

Ms Howell was chosen for her demonstrable “social responsibility” since graduating and her “passionate” support for diversity and equality.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a student at Brighton and has since set up Jooly’s Joint website to support MS sufferers.

She said: “I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the final year of my degree course and the caring support that my tutors gave to me at that horrible time has carried me forwards with confidence and determination and enabled me to achieve a level of success far beyond anything I could have imagined.”

See Thursday’s and Friday’s Argus for full winter graduation news.