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Can you crack the GCHQ code hidden in Mancunian artist’s latest work?

Manchester-based artist Justin Eagleton has been chosen by the Government to create a cryptic artwork.
Justin Eagleton at GCHQ

GCHQ has launched their LinkedIn arrival with a brand new puzzle designed by Manchester artist Justin Eagleton.

The unique visual puzzle is a nod to the intelligence agency’s historic links with code-breaking and has been designed to appeal to people who process information differently and possess strong lateral-thinking skills.

They are hoping they can inspire a generation of code-breakers and puzzle fanatics, to help GCHQ.

It’s great to see Justin’s work being celebrated on an international stage – you can check out his other artworks here

Hidden within the puzzle are 13 elements which represent letters of the alphabet.

Justin Eagleton puzzle
Justin Eagleton’s artwork

The challenge is to identify those letters and assemble them to reveal a hidden message.

The new puzzle has been created to celebrate the organisation coming to Manchester city centre, in addition to their hubs in London and headquarters in Cheltenham.   

Puzzles are at the heart of GCHQ’s vital work.

These skills represent GCHQ’s historic roots in cryptography and encryption and continue to be important to their modern-day mission to keep the country safe.

And who knows, it might just inspire someone to become the next GCHQ codebreaker.

Artist Justin Eagleton

Justin’s Artwork is on page three of the Daily Mail today, being discussed on Sky News, not to mention several chat shows, where they are all trying to work out the puzzle.

He’s also received a text from Vanessa Feltz too, which he described as ‘bizarre’.

Justin Eagleton said: “I’ve designed a new artwork with the team at GCHQ which contains a puzzle and 13 hidden letters to solve a riddle.

“Puzzle and problem solving is what they do so it’s a big deal for me to be involved.

“I created the artwork for the reception area of GCHQ in Manchester about three years ago.

“It’s displayed on their main digital screen as you enter the building.

“Through this project, I established a few connections, leading to an invitation to collaborate on a puzzle to inspire the next generation of puzzle solvers.

“The resulting image appears cryptic at first glance, but as you decode it, the message becomes clearer.

“Once you decipher the letters, rearranging them reveals the solution.”

Justin with Dermot Turing and the Alan Turing book

Justin also did the artwork for Alan Turing’s book, who features in the sky of his latest work.

He said since the image went live, he’s been inundated with texts and calls asking for tips and the secrets of unlocking the code.

“It’s been surreal – I’ve had loads of messages about it – people trying to get the scoop of what it’s all about.

“I’ve been trying to work this morning, but I might just go to a coffee shop and take it all in.”

The purpose of the artwork is to raise awareness and recognition of GCHQ for its activities.

Considering the diverse audience they cater to, they are an intelligence service engaged in surveillance and counterterrorism efforts.

They are on the hunt for individuals capable of logical thinking, puzzle-solving, and unconventional problem-solving methods.

Justin continued: “I think the aim is to attract a variety of people to consider a role at GCHQ.

“I incorporated puzzle elements into the artwork displayed on screens, to get people interested in puzzles. It was aimed at school kids who visited to get a feel for a career.

“By engaging with puzzles, young visitors may leave with the idea that solving puzzles could be a potential career path. Maybe even getting a job at GCHQ.”

You can follow Justin’s artwork on Instagram by clicking here

Justin’s work is fantastic, and it is wonderful to see a Manchester artist getting international recognition with GCHQ’s first-ever LinkedIn post.

Director GCHQ, Anne Keast-Butler

Director GCHQ, Anne Keast-Butler, said: “The world is getting more complex and we’re only ever going to stay ahead of those threats by bringing together the right mix of minds that lets us tackle the challenges ahead.  

“For us, that means bringing in people with different backgrounds, different experiences, different insights, different knowledge, and creating a team where all of us can play our part. For us, it’s clear that diversity is mission-critical.   

“So we’re on a journey to make sure that we reach out and connect to people who’ve never thought of working with us.

“And today we’re launching on LinkedIn as a way of starting to showcase a little bit more of the work that we do and some of the amazing people who work at GCHQ.   

“And as part of launching on LinkedIn, we are in true GCHQ style – and to try and help you think out of the box – launching a puzzle too.

“See if you can identify the letters contained in the picture and bring them together to form a message.”  

You can find out more about Justin Eagleton on his website by clicking here

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